Even as space scientists at Sriharikota have begun the countdown prior to the launch of the country’s maiden navigation satellite on July 1, preparations have begun in far-away Kourou in South America to fly yet another national satellite, INSAT-3D.

The flight is set for July 26, roughly between 1.15 a.m. and 3 a.m. (IST).

ISRO’s launch contractor for INSAT-3D, the European Arianespace, said the 2,100-kg advanced weather satellite had cleared a pre-launch checkout process.

Its solar panels were deployed for routine testing by an ISRO team that is in the French Guiana spaceport.

Numbered VA214, the Ariane-5 launch vehicle has been brought into the Final Assembly Building and is being readied for the flight, an Arianespace release said.

It will also carry Europe’s advanced telecommunications spacecraft, the Alphasat.

ISRO is a prime customer of Arianespace; it contracts Ariane launcher to put its communication satellites into an orbit 36,000 km above earth. It is yet to fully achieve its own capability in this class with the GSLV, although it can put smaller satellites into lower orbits on the PSLV rocket.