Insat 3C launches on Thursday; DD readies for live telecast

Insat 3C will finally be launched tomorrow by an Ariane 4 rocket from the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana. The long delayed event will be telecast live by Doordarshan (DD1) from 3.45 am. The launch is scheduled at 4.23 am IST.

According to Indian space agency Isro, all the launch preparations for the indigenously built Insat 3C have been completed at the launch site. The 2,750 kg spacecraft reached Kourou on 4 December 2001 and has since undergone extensive electrical and mechanical tests. It has now been integrated with the Ariane 4 launch vehicle of Arianespace, the space agency that is partnering Isro in the venture.

Isro's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka meanwhile has been fully prepared to take control of INSAT-3C as soon as it is launched into its geostationary tranfer orbit. 

Arianespace officials meanwhile say that final countdown operations for its first mission of the year are now underway following the launch readiness review, which was conducted on Tuesday at the Spaceport. The review verified the "go" status of the Ariane 4 vehicle, its INSAT 3C satellite payload, the launch infrastructure at the Guiana Space Center, and the downrange tracking stations that will follow the mission's trajectory. Flight 147 will use an Ariane 42L version of the Ariane 4 launcher family, which is equipped with two liquid strap-on boosters added to the first stage for additional thrust during liftoff and initial ascent. 

INSAT 3C has been developed and assembled by Isro, and will be placed at an orbital position of 74 deg East (over the Indian Ocean). INSAT 3C will carry 24 C-band, six extended C-band and two S-band transponders and a Mobile Satellite Service Transponder operating in S-band up-link and C-band down link frequencies, Isro officials say. It will provide telecommunications and TV coverage over the Indian subcontinent via the transponders on board. 

The spacecraft will be the eighth Indian satellite orbited by Ariane launchers. The relationship between Arianespace and Isro dates back to the Ariane launch in June 1981 when the first Indian satellite, Apple was launched. 

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