The antenna of communications satellite GSAT-12 was deployed on Thursday afternoon, to much applause from the Indian Space Research Organisation's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka.

The satellite, launched on July 15, will now reach its final orbital destination, at 83 degrees east and pointing at India, on August 6.

Commercial use

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said the satellite's 12 transponders would be put through a series of in-orbital tests and they would be considered fully operational for commercial use after four to five weeks.

Final deployment

GSAT 12 will facilitate telemedicine, tele-education and village resource centres. The 1.2-metre reflector antenna was the final deployment of the satellite, which is now in the final configuration of 36,000-km circular orbit. It will be co-located with INSAT-2E and INSAT-4A.

“GSAT-12 is in good health and is on continuous radio-visibility from the MCF,” Dr. Radhakrishnan said at a press conference at the MCF. There was, however, a moment of concern when GSAT-12 sounded an alarm on Thursday morning. “Communication was cut off for a few seconds, but immediate remedial action was taken,” he said. The alarm was caused by radiation. All operations were now going well, he added.

The MCF's 300-odd scientists and engineers work three shifts and monitor satellites by the minute.