INSAT-3B, the first satellite in the ISRO-built, INSAT-3 series,
was air-lifted last night (February 1, 2000) to Kourou in French Guyana, from
where it is expected to be launched between March 14 and March 21, 2000 on
board Ariane-5 vehicle. The Air France cargo aircraft (AF 6741) carrying
INSAT-3B and other equipment took off at 11.00 hours (IST). The satellite was
packed in a special container with provisions like vibration isolation,
nitrogen purging, rapid decompression provision and monitoring instruments for
temperature, pressure, vibration levels, etc, to take care of the satellite
during its transport and handling. The other equipment were packed in 10
pellets; in all, the cargo weighed about 40 tonne.
Two ISRO scientists are accompanying the precious cargo. A team of ISRO
engineers have already left to Kourou to start working on the satellite as soon
as it reaches Kourou. The cargo is expected to reach Kaynes Airport near Kourou
on the evening of February 2, 2000.