India Sci-Tech
Snag delays Insat-4B lift-off
Mar 11, 2007 - 3:21:19 PM

Bangalore, March 11 - The much-awaited launch early Sunday of India's latest indigenously built communications satellite Insat-4B has been postponed by 24 hours due to a technical snag in the launch pad of the Ariane-5 at Kourou in French Guyana.

Arianespace CEO Jean Yves Le Gall said in a statement that the launch had been rescheduled to early Monday Indian time.

'Ariane-5 heavy lift-off mission has been postponed to validate the proper operation of the launch pad water deluge system at Spaceport ELA-3 launch site.

'The deluge system provides a high-volume flow of water for launch pad acoustic damping during Ariane-5's engine ignition and lift-off,' Gall said in the statement posted on the official web site of

The T-minus 10 countdown was stopped before the scheduled 19.25 - lift-off to verify sensor readings concerning the water deluge system's operational sequence.

The launch vehicle - and its dual-satellite payload of Insat-4B and Skynet-5A were immediately placed in the safe mode.

Meanwhile, the Indian Space Research Organisation -, which has built the 3025 kg Insat-4B, said the anomaly - detected by the computerised mission control system seven minutes before the lift-off - could not be resolved within the launch window period kept open between 3.55 a.m. and 4.28 a.m. IST.

'The snag was in the launch site of the Europe's spaceport ELA-3. The launch vehicle and the two satellites are safe and intact,' a top space agency official told IANS here.

Since the final countdown began late Saturday -, the launch mission was on schedule till the T-minus 10 countdown started. After three minutes, a red light flashed detecting the snag, which resulted in stopping the launch seven minutes before the lift-off.

As the second satellite in the Insat-4 series, Insat-4B is carrying 12 high power Ku-band - transponders and 12 C-band - transponders to augment the capacity for Direct-To-Home - television services and expanding the Insat capacity for other communication and broadcasting services.

Incidentally, Insat-4b is the 13th Indian satellite to use the European launcher for deployment in the geo-synchronous orbit.

The over three-tonne-Insat-4B was built at the ISRO satellite centre in Bangalore at a cost of Rs.2.15 billion. The launch cost is estimated to be Rs.2.25 billion. It has also been insured for Rs.600 million.

The Indian satellite would piggy ride on the 4.7-tonne Skynet-5A military communication satellite, built by EADS-Astrium, for the British ministry of defence.

Skynet will offer secured communication services for the British armed forces, NATO and other European countries.

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