Bangalore: India's advanced meteorological satellite INSAT-3D was successfully launched by an European rocket from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana early today, giving a boost to weather forecasting and disaster warning services.
European space consortium Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket launched INSAT-3D and Alphasat satellites.
Alphasat is Europe's largest telecommunication satellite-ever manufactured and results from a large-scale public-private partnership between the European Space Agency and Inmarsat.
The workhorse vehicle lifted off exactly on schedule at 1.23 am IST from the Spaceport's ELA-3 launch zone in French Guiana for a nearly 33-minute flight.
This launch provided an excellent view of the flight's initial trajectory, as the Ariane 5 began its vertical ascent, then rotated East - arching over the Spaceport's main base area as it progressed downrange.
The flight path was visible between scattered cloud layers and the clear meteorological conditions enabled an excellent view of the launch's first phase - including separation of the two solid propellant boosters at an altitude of 67 km.
Alphasat was deployed first in the flight sequence, nearly 28 minutes after the liftoff.
Some five minutes later, Ariane 5 completed its mission with the successful separation of INSAT-3D, which carries a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder, as well as a data relay transponder for satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
"I am happy to inform you that the Master Control Facility at Hassan in India has already received signals from INSAT-3D", Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Radhakrishnan said minutes after the launch.
"We are looking forward to an excellent operational performance of INSAT-3D for the next seven years making a difference for the weather forecasting and disaster warning systems for the country", added Radhakrishnan, also Secretary in the Department of Space, in comments telecast live by Doordarshan.
Radhakrishnan did not travel to Kourou for the launch of INSAT-3D, designed to provide meteorological observation and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces.
According to ISRO, INSAT-3D adds a new dimension to weather monitoring through its atmospheric sounding system, which provides vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone from surface to top of the atmosphere.