Ariane Flight VA246

with GSAT-11 and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A


Launch date
December 4, 2018
Launch vehicle
Ariane 5 ECA
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
Prime contractor(s)
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
Launch site
Spaceport, French Guiana (Guiana Space Center)
Geostationary transfer orbit (GTO)


For its 10th launch of 2018, and the sixth of the year using an Ariane 5 vehicle, Arianespace will serve the national ambitions of two major Asian space agencies by orbiting GSAT-11 for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

With this mission dedicated to space applications for telecommunications, weather and climate studies, Arianespace once again contributes to the improvement of life on Earth, especially in its most remote and isolated areas.

Between 20:37 and 22:20 (Dec. 4)
Universal Time (UTC)
Between 5:37 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. (Dec. 4)
Kourou, French Guiana
Between 9:37 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. (Dec. 4)
Paris, France
Between 3:37 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. (Dec. 4)
Washington, D.C.
Between 2:07 a.m and 3:50 a.m. (Dec. 5)
Bangalore, India
Between 5:37 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. (Dec. 5)
Seoul, South Korea
Between 5:37 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. (Dec. 5)
Tokyo, Japan



To be installed as Ariane 5’s upper passenger, GSAT-11 is an operational telecommunication satellite designed and manufactured by ISRO. By operating GSAT-11, ISRO will again foster the use of space to help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of its ambitious space program whose objectives are to harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.

To be positioned at 74° East, GSAT-11  ̶  ISRO’s largest and heaviest communication satellite ever  ̶  is configured on its next-generation I-6K structure to provide communications services from geostationary orbit in Ku- and Ka-bands in both forward and return links. Offering a multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby islands, GSAT-11 will bring significant advantages to users when compared with existing INSAT/GSAT satellite systems. Its designed lifetime is more than 15 years.

Since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace have orbited 21 satellites and signed 24 launch contracts with the Indian space agency. It has also won almost 90% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts opened to non-Indian launch vehicles.

With two additional satellites remaining in Arianespace’s order book, the launch of GSAT-11 is to be another vivid demonstration of the strong bond uniting Europe and India in space cooperation.


The GEO-KOMPSAT-2 program is a national program of the Korean Government to develop and operate two civilian geostationary satellites: GEO-KOMPSAT-2A and -2B.

Positioned on Ariane 5 as Flight VA246’s lower passenger, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A is designed to conduct meteorological and space weather monitoring missions (whereas GEO-KOMPSAT-2B is to carry out Earth environment monitoring and ocean monitoring missions).

Covering the Asia-Pacific region, the satellite will be stationed at the 128.2° East orbital location for a 10-year nominal life in service.

Developed by KARI at its facility in Daejeon, South-Korea, this weather satellite will be the 68th Earth observation satellite launched by Arianespace. Such missions represent 10% of the total number of satellites orbited by the launch service company.

For nearly 30 years, Arianespace and Korea’s satellite technology research centers have developed a sound relationship, with the launch of scientific microsatellites (KITSAT A & B, in 1992 et 1993) as well as the multi-mission COMS satellite (in 2010).

GEO-KOMPSAT-2A will be KARI’s second’s satellite, and the seventh for South-Korea to be lofted by Arianespace.

By entrusting Arianespace with the launch of its KOMPSAT-7 satellite, KARI confirmed the relevance of its services and solutions toward the dynamic Earth observation market as well as its capacities to help Korea fulfil its ambitions in Space.

Prior to Flight VA246, Arianespace has orbited 588th satellites, out of which 115 were launched for eight space agencies around the world (Europe, France, Italy, Sweden, U.S., India, Korea and Japan).

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