NEW DELHI, June 29 (Xinhua) -- French rocket Ariane-5 successfully launched GSAT-17 into space early on Thursday, adding the 3,477-kg Indian satellite to its existing fleet of 17 communication satellites.

"The satellite is designed to provide continuity of services of operational satellites in C, extended C, and S bands, and will be launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

GSAT-17, with a life expectancy of 15 years, is a planned Indian communications satellite built by ISRO and operated by the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT).

GSAT-17, which is the 21st satellite that Arianespace has launched for ISRO, also had equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite-based search and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.

ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in the state of Karnataka has now taken control and will perform the initial orbit raising maneuvers later.

Besides GSAT-17, Ariance-5 also put into space Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN, a "condosat" for Inmarsat and Hellas Sat.