NEW DELHI—India’s next national communication satellite, GSAT-16, will be launched in December to augment its communications capability and boost existing services.

The 3,150-kg (3.5-ton) satellite will be dual-manifested on a European Ariane 5 rocket along with another satellite, DirecTV-14, a senior scientist at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) says.

The spacecraft, built at ISRO’s satellite center in the south Indian city of Bengaluru, arrived at Arianespace’s spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana by a chartered cargo aircraft last week.

A team of ISRO scientists and engineers "will make routine checks [and] run tests over the next few weeks to fully prepare it for the launch along with its co-passenger DirecTV-14, built by Space Systems/Loral," the ISRO official says. DirecTV-14 will provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the U.S.

The liftoff of GSAT-16, initially slated for next year, has been advanced by six months to meet the rapidly growing demand for GSAT services.

The GSAT-16 satellite—an enhanced version of GSAT-10—is expected to replace Insat-3E as the primary Indian communication satellite orbiting the Earth. It will carry C-band and Ku-band transponders and can support services like VSAT, television, strategic and emergency communications.

In June 2013, the Indian government approved 8.6 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) for the development and launch of the satellite. Presently, ISRO has nine operational Insat and GSAT satellites, which feature nearly 195 transponders.

In 2012, ISRO launched its 3.4-ton GSAT-10 communication satellite aboard an Ariane 5 from the European Spaceport at Kourou. Weighing 3,400 kg (7,500 lb.) at liftoff, GSAT-10 is so far the heaviest spacecraft ISRO has built.

ISRO’s history of launching payloads with Arianespace dates back to the 1980s. Arianespace has so far launched 17 satellites for ISRO, including Insat-3D, which was lofted in July 2012.

In August of last year, Arianespace launched India’s first dedicated maritime communications satellite, GSAT-7. The company agreed to launch GSAT-16 last November.