KUALA LUMPUR: After three brief delays, the Measat-3b satellite was successfully launched into space at 6.05am (Malaysian time) on Friday, some 45 minutes behind schedule.
The Measat-3b was boosted into geostationary transfer orbit by an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourau, French Guiana.
Measat Global Bhd's (MGB) sixth satellite was supposed to be launched at 5.21am.
With a launch window of only one hour, the mood was noticeably tense after the third time as the team at Guiana Space Centre said the launch would be delayed for "standard checks".
However, a huge round of applause resounded when the rocket was launched successfully within the allotted time.
The launch marked the Guiana Space Centre's 62th successful launch in a row.
Measat Satellite Systems director Tun Hanif Omar said the satellite which had an investment value of RM1.1bil represents the next step in MBG's mission to become the leading satellite provider in emerging markets.
French Ambassador to Malaysia Martine Dorance congratulated MGB for its latest venture, saying the Measat-3b satellite is a milestone for Malaysia's communication.
The launch, which was broadcasted live at the National Science Centre, was also attended by the Centre's director Assoc Prof Dr Irmawati Ramli and some 400 students from various secondary schools.
The Measat-3b project was initiated in June 2011.
Built by Airbus Defence and Space, it is Malaysia’s largest and most advanced to date, providing an additional 48 high-powered Ku-band transponders to the 91.5°E orbital slot to expand direct-to-home and very small aperture terminal services across Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia.
It is the third Measat satellite launched by French company Arianespace after Measat-1 and Measat-2 in 1996.
Measat-3b, the largest Malaysian satellite ever launched, is expected to significantly boost Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd's offerings to customers.