India's latest communication satellite GSAT-8 was today successfully launched by Arianespace from Kourou in French Guiana to give a boost to direct-to-home services in the country.
GSAT-8 was injected into space by European launcher Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket which lifted-off at 02.08 am (IST), with Japan's ST-2 spacecraft as co-passenger.
French Guiana is a region of France on the North-East coast of South America.
Weighing 3,100 kg at lift-off, GSAT-8 is one of the heaviest and high-powered satellites built by the Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation.
An ISRO team, which witnessed the launch, expressed delight over the successful mission.
"I am extremely happy to announce that ISRO's Master Control Facility at Hassan near Bangalore has confirmed the reception of signals from GSAT-8 and taken charge of the command and control of GSAT-8 immediately after its injection into the geo-stationary transfer orbit," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said.
"This (the launch) is another great moment for us," he said.
Radhakrishnan said the user community in India was looking forward for the operationalisation of the 24 high-power Ku band transponders into the Indian National Satellite system.
ISRO officials said the launch was doubly gratifying as the space agency had lost two satellites last year in two unsuccessful GSLV missions launched from the home soil. ISRO was desperately looking to augment transponder capacity, which is in great demand.
Built by Japan's Mitsubishi Electric Company, ST-2 would be operated by the ST-2 Satellite Ventures joint company of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) and Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Company Ltd.
GSAT-8 carried 24 transponders to augment India's Ku-band relay capabilities -- primarily for direct-to-home TV broadcast services -- with a coverage zone including the entire Indian subcontinent.
Additionally, GSAT-8 carried the two-channel GAGAN system for aircraft navigation assistance over Indian airspace and adjoining areas.