India on Thursday added GSAT-17 to its fleet of communication satellites after it was launched into orbit by heavy lift rocket Ariane 5 from Kourou in French Guiana, said European Space Agency Arianespace.In a statement, Arianespace said the GSAT-17 with a mass at liftoff of 3,476 kg would expand the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) current fleet of 17 telecommunicaiton satellites."It is to provide continuity of Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) in Normal C and Upper Extended C bands, as well as Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) in S-band and Data Relay and Search and Rescue services in UHF band - operating from a final orbital position of 93.5 degrees East," Arianespace said.Arianespace said it has launched 21 satellites for ISRO extending a relationship that dates back to 1981 with the launch of APPLE experimental satellite.In a statement, ISRO said its Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-17 immediately after its separation from the rocket.
Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal functioning.In the coming days, orbit raising manoeuvres would be performed to place the GSAT-17 satellite in the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite's propulsion system in steps.During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the two solar arrays and both the antenna reflectors of GSAT-17 would be deployed.Following this, the satellite would be put in its final orbital configuration.According to ISRO, GSAT-17 would be positioned at its designated orbital slot in the geostationary orbit and would be co-located with some of the Indian operational geostationary satellites."Later, it is planned to turn on the communication payloads of the satellite. After the successful completion of all the in-orbit tests, GSAT-17 will be ready for operational use," ISRO said.