Antrix/ISRO and EADS Astrium Built Commercial Communication Satellite Launched Successfully

Press Release From: Indian Space Research Organisation
Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008

A state of the art communication satellite, W2M, built by ISRO on a commercial basis in partnership with EADS-Astrium of Europe, was successfully launched today (December 21, 2008) at 0405 hrs (4:05 am) Indian Standard Time (IST) by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle. The launch took place from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana.

32 minutes after its lift-off, W2M separated from Ariane-5, after reaching its intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). Radio signals transmitted by W2M were successfully received by ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka and the satellite's health is normal.

W2M project was undertaken in the context of an accord signed during the visit of the President of France on February 20, 2006, at New Delhi between Antrix Corporation Ltd., the commercial arm of the India's Department of Space and EADS Astrium to jointly build and deliver a communication satellite (W2M) to Eutelsat Communications, which is a global satellite communications provider based in Paris.

Astrium had the responsibility for overall program management and delivery of the communications payload and Antrix/ISRO provided the satellite bus and also performed W2M's integration and testing at ISRO's facilities in Bangalore. W2M satellite, weighing 3,463 kg at lift-off, is the heaviest satellite built by ISRO and is capable of operating for over 15 years. The satellite's solar panels generate a maximum of about 7000 Watts of power.

Subsequent to its placement in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by Ariane 5, W2M is to be positioned finally at the orbital slot of 16 degree East in the Geostationary Orbit. It carries 32 high power Ku band transponders for telecommunications and broadcasting services over Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

Antrix/ISRO is also responsible for the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations of W2M, which is being conducted from Master Control Facility. The operations include 3-axis stabilisation of the satellite, repeated firing of its Liquid Apogee Motor to reach the satellite to its final orbital slot and deployment of its appendages.

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