India's geostationary satellite GSAT-8 was successfully put into orbit in the early hours of Saturday, 21st May, 2011. As we had reported earlier, it was launched aboard the Ariane-VA-202 rocket from Kourou space port in French Guiana in South America. The rocket belonging to European Space Agency (ESA) consortium's Arianespace, lifted off with two other payloads aboard.
The 3.1 tonne satellite lifted off at 2:11 am IST and successfully separated from the rocket's upper stage after 31 minutes, putting it in an elliptical equatorial geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) at 1,800 km above the Earth. Now under control of ISRO's (Indian Space Research Organization) Master Control Facility (MCF) facility at Hasan, about 180 km from Bangalore, the satellite will gradually be boosted to its final geostationary orbit at an altitude of about 36,000 km above the Earth in the next couple of days and its solar power panels will be deployed.
ISRO Director, S. Satish said, "The MCF will test and monitor the health parameters of the payloads by June 1. It will be available for DTH services from July 1". As reported earlier, the GSAT-8 carries 24 high-power Ku-band transpoders for Direct-To-Home (DTH) services run by private and government operators. The satellite also has a global position system (GPS) aided geo-augmented navigation (Gagan) as an additional payload. This seeks to improve the accuracy of the widely popular U.S.A.-owned GPS global positioning and navigational system.