It was reported that in order to retire an old satellite sent up in 1999, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to launch their heaviest satellite on and ensure continuity of telecom, TV and weather services. The satellite, officially called GSAT-5P, will blast off on the state-run space agency's geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle, or GSLV, and scientists hope they will be three times lucky in the seventh such attempt they will make on Monday.
The launch vehicle is 51 metres tall, weighs 418 tonnes and costs around `175 crore (`1.75 billion). The satellite, with a payload of 2,310 kg, has a price tag of `125 crore. So far, ISRO has sent up six GSLV rockets with satellites, of which only two missions were full successes and one a partial victory. The rest could not accomplish their mission of slinging the satellite into their intended path of orbit. The Dec 20 launch is also the first time ISRO is sending up its geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle in December. The earlier launches were in April with two flights in 2001 and 2010, September with two in 2004 and 2007 and one each in May 2003 and July 2006. The Dec 22 launch will again be on a Russian engine.