Paris, Dec 7: India's advanced communications satellite GSAT-16 was carried into orbit by an European Ariane 5 rocket, that blasted off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana Saturday, Arianespace announced.
The Ariane 5 rocket also carried the US telecommunications satellite DIRECTV-14 into orbit. The launch, which was delayed for two days owing to bad weather, took place at 20.40 GMT. This was the sixth launch of its kind so far this year.
Weighing 3,181.6 kg, GSAT 16, designed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) carries 48 transponders -- automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals.
The GSAT-16 is equipped with Ku and C-band transponders to boost telecommunication transmissions on the Indian subcontinent, Arianespace said.
The satellite is the 11th among GSAT series and the 24th geo-stationary communication satellite with a lifespan of 12 years.
"GSAT-16 will replace the INSAT-3E, which expired in April," ISRO satellite centre director S. Shiva Kumar had said.
The satellite will be placed at 55 degrees east over India in a geo-stationary orbit, about 36,000 km above the earth.
With a total of 168 transponders in the C, extended C and Ku-bands, the INSAT and GSAT series of satellites provide services like telecommunication, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and search and rescue operations.
India uses Ariane rockets to put its heavy communication satellites in geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) as it does not have a rocket to carry a three-tonne satellite.
ISRO is developing one such rocket called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III.
The US satellite DIRECTV-14, which was also carried into orbit by the Ariane 5 rocket, will provide high-definition images to 31 million television viewers in the US and Latin America.