ISRO’s latest communication satellite, INSAT-3E, is scheduled for launch around 4.30 am Indian Standard Time on September 28, 2003. INSAT-3E will be launched by the 162nd flight of Ariane (17th launch of Ariane-5 launch vehicle) along with SMART-1 of European Space Agency and e-Bird of EUTELSAT.

It may be noted that the spacecraft was transported to Kourou on July 16, 2003 and was scheduled for launch in August. But in view of a quality alert received from the manufacturer of components used in the communication transponders of INSAT-3E, detailed quality rechecks became necessary which have been carried out in the last four weeks.

INSAT-3E, with a lift off weight of 2,775 kg, is the fourth spacecraft in the INSAT-3 series. It will carry 24 C-band transponders and 12 extended C-band transponders.