Ariane 5 launcher buildup was completed with the positioning of DIRECTV-14 – which is encapsulated in the ogive-shaped protective fairing – atop its GSAT-16 co-passenger (photo at left). This was followed by the application on Ariane 5’s fairing of graphics representing these payloads, marked by the corresponding DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 teams in the center and right-hand images.

ISRO All Set for GSAT-16 Launch Aboard Arianespace on Dec 5

ISRO is launching its multi-band communication satellite GSAT-16 on a procured launch vehicle Arianespace on Friday, December 5, from Kourou in French Guiana at 02:08 am (IST).

The satellite, with a payload of 3181.6 kg will carry C-band and Ku-band transponders to augment communication for VSAT or very small aperture terminal services, TV services and emergency communications in the country.

The spacecraft will also carry US-based operator’s DIRECTV-14, that was built by Space Systems, Loral to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts in the US.

Arianespace’s sixth heavy-lift mission of 2014 was given the go-ahead for Thursday’s (Friday in India) launch on a dual-passenger Ariane 5 flight carrying the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 satellites.

Scheduled for liftoff during a 1-hr., 10-min. launch window that opens at 5:38 p.m. local time on December 4 in French Guiana, the two spacecraft will be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 32 minutes.

Launch window for Ariane Flight VA221

Universal time

French Guiana




Between 08:38 p.m. and 09:48 p.m. on
December 4, 2014

Between 05:38 p.m. and 06:48 p.m. on
December 4, 2014

Between 09:38 p.m. and 10:48 p.m. on
December 4, 2014

Between 03:38 p.m. and 04:48 p.m. on
December 4, 2014

Between 02:08 a.m. and 03:18 a.m. on
December 5, 2014


Payload lift performance for Ariane 5 is more than 10,200 kg., which includes a combined total of some 9,480 kg. for the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 passengers, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.

DIRECTV-14 is installed in the upper payload position on Ariane 5, and in the launcher’s lower payload slot, GSAT-16 was placed. Thursday’s Ariane 5 mission is designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace’s launcher system numbering system, signifying the 221st liftoff of an Ariane family vehicle from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Once GSAT-16 is put in to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan will take control of the operations of the satellite and effects the initial orbit raising manoeuvres using the satellite’s on-board Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), and places it in the vicinity of circular Geostationary Orbit.

Once in the desired orbit, the solar panels, antennas and three axis stabilisation of the satellite appendages will be deployed. ISRO said the GSAT-16 will be positioned at 55 degree East longitude in the Geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites.

GSAT-16 will replace INSAT-3E, which expired prematurely in April this year. GSAT-16 will be the 11th among GSAT series of Indian communication satellites with a life-span of 12 years.

GSAT satellite will also support civil aviation services apart from backing up the services provided by other communication satellites. It was built with a budget of Rs.800 Crore.

GSAT-16 is configured around I-3K Extended bus with a lift off mass of 3150 kg and 6500 W power generation capacity.

ISRO’s GSAT series are part of the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system which are placed in Geo-stationary orbits providing the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region.

Established in 1983 with commissioning of INSAT-1B, GSAT programme brought a major revolution in India’s communications system. INSAT space segment consists of 24 satellites out of which 10 are in service (INSAT-3A, INSAT-4B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, INSAT-4A, INSAT-4CR,GSAT-8, GSAT-12 and GSAT-10)

The system with a total of 168 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and search and rescue operations during natural disasters.

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