INSAT-3A & Galaxy 12

Launch Time
Wed Apr 09, 2003 22:52 UTC

Flight V159.


Ariane 5 G
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Liftoff Thrust: 11,400 kN
Payload to GTO: 6,900 kg
Stages: 2
Strap-ons: 2
Rocket Height: 52.0 m

Mission Details


INSAT-3A is a multipurpose satellite for providing telecommunications, television broadcasting, meteorological, and search & rescue services.

It carries twenty-four transponders - twelve operating in the normal C-band frequency, six in Extended C-band, and six in Ku-band. Nine of the twelve normal C-band transponders provide expanded coverage and the remaining three have India coverage beam. All the extended C-band as well as the Ku-band transponders have India coverage beams. INSAT-3A also carries a Ku-band beacon.

For meteorological observation, INSAT-3A carries a three-channel Very High-Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) with a 2 km resolution in the visible band and an 8 km resolution in thermal infrared and water vapour bands. In addition, INSAT-3A carries a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera which operates in the visible and short-wave infrared bands providing a spatial resolution of 1 km. A Data Relay Transponder (DRT) operating in the UHF band is incorporated for real-time hydrometeorological data collection from unattended platforms located on land and river basins. The data is then relayed in an extended C-band to a central location.

INSAT-3A also carries another transponder for Satellite Aided Search and Rescue (SAS & R) as part of India's contribution to the international Satellite Aided Search and Rescue programme.

INSAT-3A was launched by European Ariane-5G Launch Vehicle into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee of 200 km and an apogee of 35,980 km. The satellite is manoeuvered to its final orbit by firing the satellite's apogee motor. Subsequently, the deployment of the solar array, antennae, and solar sail was carried out and the satellite was commissioned after in-orbit checkout.

The satellite was retired in 2016 and was moved into a graveyard orbit above the geostationary belt.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 2,950.0 kg
Geostationary Earth Orbit

Galaxy 12

In early 2001, Orbital was selected to supply one C-band GEO satellite designated Galaxy 12 to be located at 72° W longitude. In late 2001 PanAmSat exercised an option for two additional C-band spacecraft designated Galaxy 14 and Galaxy 15. Design and development of the Galaxy satellites are underway at our Dulles, Virginia, campus. The satellites will distribute entertainment and information to cable television systems, TV broadcast affiliates, direct-to-home TV operators, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies, and corporations.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,760.0 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit


ELA-3, Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, France



13th orbital launch attempt


147th mission
2nd mission of 2003
140th successful mission
3rd consecutive successful mission

Ariane 5

15th mission
1st mission of 2003
11th successful mission
1st consecutive successful mission