ISRO’s latest communication satellite, INSAT-3E, has been transported to Kourou in French Guyana for its launch on board the European Ariane launch vehicle by the end of August 2003. The spacecraft, along with the ground check out and other equipment left Bangalore at 3-30 am on July 15, 2003 by an AN-124 cargo aircraft and reached Cayenne Airport at 1 pm IST yesterday (July 16, 2003). The satellite was then transported by road to the launch centre at Kourou in French Guyana. INSAT-3E is the fourth satellite to be launched in the INSAT-3 series. INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B and INSAT-3C have already been commissioned and INSAT-3D, an advanced meteorological satellite, will be launched during 2004-05.

Weighing 2750 kg at lift off, INSAT-3E carries 24 C-band transponders and 12 extended C-band transponders. When commissioned, the satellite will substantially enhance the INSAT system capacity, which now provides about 120 transponders in C-band, extended C-band, Ku-band and S-band meeting the requirement of various users.

In the coming weeks, the appendages like antennae and solar panels will be integrated with INSAT-3E and the total spacecraft tested in detail. After propellant filling operations, it will be mated with the Ariane vehicle for its launch.