Insat-3C in Kourou, readies for January launch

The Indian Space Research Organisation's Insat-3C satellite has reached Kourou, French Guiana, after its airlift from Bangalore on 3 December.

The satellite has now been positioned in the integration facilities at Kourou. As the countdown for the 16 January launch begins, the ground checkout equipment will be installed and various tests carried out on the satellite. These include solar panel and antenna deployment, integrated mechanical and electrical checks.

Erection of the first stage for Flight 147's Ariane 4 vehicle occurred yesterday in the vertical assembly building, and was followed by the integration of the launcher's second stage.

Mission preparations will continue through 18 December, when the Ariane 4 will be placed in a standby mode for the year-end holiday break. Activity will resume on 4 January, when the vehicle is transferred to the launch zone for final checkout and installation of the Insat-3C satellite.

Ariane 4's second stage after it was integrated on the launcher on Tuesday.

Insat-3C carries 24 C-band transponders, six extended C-band transponders, two S-band broadcast satellite service transponders and mobile satellite service transponders. and will be positioned at 74-degree east longitude.

Insat-3C was ready in August 2001 and was to be launched by an Ariane-5 vehicle. However, due to the failure of one of the Ariane-5 vehicles and the consequent delay in the follow-on launches, the Insat-3C launch was put off. Subsequently, Arianespace offered an exclusive Ariane-4 launch vehicle for launching Insat-3C, scheduling it for 16 January, 2002.

Arianespace successfully launched Flight 146 with the DIRECTV-4S satellite last week.


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