Today, GSAT-17 became India’s third communication satellite to successfully reach orbit in the past two months. GSAT-17 was launched in the early morning hours using the European Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana. The 3477 kg GSAT-17 carries communication payloads in C-band, Extended C-band and S-band for providing various services to the country. The satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite based search and rescue services. After its lift-off at 0245 hrs (2:45 am) IST and a flight lasting about 39 minutes, GSAT-17 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 249 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,920 km, inclined at an angle of 3 degrees to the equator. ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-17 immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle. Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal functioning. In the coming days, orbit raising manoeuvres will be performed to place GSAT-17 satellite in the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite’s propulsion system in steps. During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the two solar arrays and both the antenna reflectors of GSAT-17 will be deployed. Following this, the satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration. GSAT-17 will be positioned at its designated orbital slot in the geostationary orbit and will be co-located with some of the Indian operational geostationary satellites. Later, it is planned to turn on the communication payloads of the satellite. After the successful completion of all the in-orbit tests, GSAT-17 will be ready for operational use.