After its launch was deferred twice due to bad weather, India's latest communication satellite GSAT-16 was placed in orbit by Ariane 5 rocket in the early hours on Sunday 7 December from the space port of Kourou in French Guiana.

The European launcher blasted off at 2.10am (IST) and hurled the GSAT-16, designed to augment the national space capacity to boost communication services, into space in a flawless flight.

GSAT-16 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Indian satellite's co-passenger DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (space systems/loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, was also launched by Ariane 5 VA221, marking 63rd successful mission in a row for the rocket.

The satellite launch was originally scheduled for 5 December, 2014 but was put off due to bad weather. It was rescheduled for 02.09am (IST) on 6 December, but within hours postponed again, citing the inclement weather at the launch base in Kourou.

GSAT-16, with a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years, will boost public and private tv and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.

It will replace INSAT-3E, decommissioned prematurely in April. It is the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for Isro.

The satellite will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.

GSAT-16 will be finally positioned at 55 deg East longitude in the geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites.

India's rockets PSLV and the present GSLV do not have the capability to launch satellites of more than two tonne class, prompting Isro to opt for an outside launch.

Isro is developing the next big launcher, GSLV-MkIII, which can put satellites of up to 4 tonnes in orbit.