NEW DELHI — India’s GSAT-10 communications satellite is set to be lofted by a European Ariane 5 rocket in September. 

The satellite, which weighs nearly 3.5 tons and has a 15-year lifespan, will soon be shipped to the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and will be launched within two months, says K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The three-axis stabilized geostationary satellite was developed to cater to India’s communications requirements and augment current services. It carries 12 regular C-band, six extended C-band and 12 Ku-band transponders.

India is seeking to expand its presence in the commercial satellite launch market and hopes to soon begin a much-awaited mission to Mars (Aerospace DAILY, July 17).

Last year, India successfully lofted two communications satellites, GSAT-8 and GSAT-12, which are intended to boost direct-to-home services in the country.

In addition, ISRO plans to conduct flight testing of its Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with an indigenous cryogenic engine by next January, Radhakrishnan says.

The GSLV experienced failures in April and December 2010 due to technical issues. “We’ve done a lot of studies to find out the reason for the failure and have taken corrective actions,” Radhakrishnan says. The cryogenic engine and flight stage should be ready by later this year, he adds.