Insat-4B put in orbit, to boost DTH service
Mar 12, 2007 - 3:51:53 PM
Bangalore, March 12 - India's telecommunications satellite Insat-4B, which will augment direct-to-home - television and communication services, was launched early Monday from Kourou in French Guyana and placed into geo-synchronous transfer orbit.
The second satellite in the Insat-4 series, which was launched on board the European Ariane-5, is identical to the indigenous Insat-4A launched Dec 22, 2005. It has now made the Indian Space Research Organisation - overcome the loss of Insat-4C that crashed after its geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle - exploded July 10, 2006 due to a technical snag.
'The number of high power Ku-band transponders for DTH service has doubled to 24 with the addition of 12 such transponders from Insat-4B. Had we not lost Insat-4C, we would have had 36 Ku-band transponders by now, as it was carrying a payload of 12 Ku-band transponders,' a top ISRO official told IANS here.
Apart from 12 Ku-band transponders, the 3,025 kg Insat-4B is carrying 12 C- transponders for communication and television services.
In the face of growing demand for transponders from customers in the communications, television and DTH space, Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, is under pressure to make proportionate allotment of transponders on first-cum-first basis.
'We have to strike a balance in allotting the transponders, as we had to make up for the loss of 12 transponders due to Insat-4C's crash. With all the transponders getting fully booked months before they were launched and made operational, we have done our best to satisfy as many customers by providing the required capacity,' the official said.
Non-availability of satellite transponders have prevented existing DTH operators such as Doordarshan - Direct Plus, Dish TV and Tata Sky from expanding their operations. It has also delayed the launch of a similar service by new players such as Sun Direct, Reliance Bluemagic and the Bharti group.
According to sources in Antrix, with the allotment of Insat-4B's 12 Ku-band transponders to Sun TV - and DD -, the other players will have to wait till mid-2007 for booking the transponders of Insat-4CR, which ISRO plans to launch as a replacement to the ill-fated Insat-4C.
With a number of players in diverse verticals using satellite-linked communications for their operations, the demand for transponders is estimated to be about 300 currently.
The transponders receive signals, translate their frequency and amplify them before re-transmitting them to earth in the bandwidth of 36 MHz. The reflected signal can be accessed from anywhere in the subcontinent.
Antrix is projected to earn revenue of Rs.12.5 billion by selling the transponders capacity to the customers at a rate of about Rs.45 million - each per year.
Earlier in the day, the space agency's Master Control Facility - at Hassan in Karnataka picked up the satellite's first signals 30 minutes after it lifted-off from the Arianespace launch facility with co-passenger Skynet-5A of EADS Astrium at about 03:33 IST.
The initial checks have indicated the satellite is in normal health. Space scientists at the MCF, about 180km from here, issued commands to the satellite to make it face the earth.
'The satellite will be manoeuvred to its final geo-stationary orbit, about 36,000 km above the equator, by firing its 440 Newton liquid apogee motor in the next couple of days,' the official noted.
When the satellite reaches near geo-synchronous orbit, its solar panels and two antennas will be deployed.
'With this first launch in the New Year -, we have once again demonstrated our leadership. The satisfaction of every customer is our keyword, offering the best possible service and solutions to each one,' said Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall.
ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair congratulated the Ariane team for delivering Insat-4B into an excellent orbit. The accuracy was confirmed by the MCF, with telemetry received from the spacecraft immediately after its separation from Ariane-5.
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