Communication satellite, W2M was successfully launched on Sunday at 0405 hrs (IST) by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle. The launch took place from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana. The W2M is built by ISRO on a commercial basis in partnership with EADS-Astrium of Europe,
W2M separated from Ariane-5, after reaching its intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), 32 minutes after its launching. Radio signals transmitted by W2M were successfully received by ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka and the satellite’s health is normal.
W2M project was undertaken in the context of an accord signed during the visit of the President of France on February 20, 2006, at New Delhi between Antrix Corporation Ltd., the commercial arm of the India’s Department of Space and EADS Astrium to jointly build and deliver a communication satellite (W2M) to Eutelsat Communications, which is a global satellite communications provider based in Paris.
Astrium had the responsibility for overall program management and delivery of the communications payload and Antrix/ISRO provided the satellite bus and also performed W2M's integration and testing at ISRO's facilities in Bangalore.
W2M satellite, weighing 3,463 kg at lift-off, is the heaviest satellite built by ISRO and is capable of operating for over 15 years. The satellite's solar panels generate a maximum of about 7000 Watts of power It carries 32 high power Ku band transponders for telecommunications and broadcasting services over Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Antrix/ISRO is also responsible for the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations of W2M, which is being conducted from Master Control Facility.