GSAT-8 enters final phase of integration with Ariane rocket

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Chennai: India`s latest communication satellite GSAT-8 is in the final phase of integration with Ariane 5 rocket to be launched on May 19 from French Guiana.

Ariane 5 along with two payloads — one Indian and the other Japanese — was yesterday transferred from Launcher Integration Building to Final Assembly Building, the French space agency Arianespace said.

During the current launch campaign at French Guiana, a region of France on the northeast coast of South America, the ISRO team has performed a full range of checkout tests for GSAT-8, including deployment of its solar panels and antennas, it said on its website.

"The mission brings together two very diverse cultures, as well as two different approaches to the way the satellites are prepared," the agency quoted mission director Thierry Wilmart as saying.

With a liftoff mass of 3,100 kg, GSAT-8 will carry 24 transponders to augment India`s Ku-band relay capabilities. It is also equipped with the two-channel GAGAN (GPS and GEO augmented navigation) system.

GAGAN will support the Indian government`s implementation of a regional satellite-based augmentation system to assist in the navigation of aircraft over Indian airspace and in adjoining areas.

A total of 13 Indian satellites have been launched by various Ariane launcher versions, starting with the APPLE payload in 1981.

A Japanese communication spacecraft ST-2 will also accompany GSAT-2 on May 19 from French Guiana during an evening launch window lasting 1 hour 32 minutes.

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