Insat-4B ready for launch on 11 March

MUMBAI: Preparations are in the final stages for the launch of Isro‘s latest satellite, Insat-4B, on board Ariane-5 ECA launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch window for the Ariane-5, carrying Insat-4B and its co-passenger Skynet 5A of EADS Astrium, is fixed between 03:55 am and 04:28 am Indian Standard Time on 11 March (7:25 pm to 7:58 pm 10 March, in Kourou).

Insat-4B is the second satellite to be launched in the Insat-4 series. Insat-4B carries 12 high power Ku-band transponders and 12 C-band transponders to augment the capacity for direct-to-home (DTH) television services apart from augmenting the Insat capacity for other communication and television services.


The Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka is in readiness to take control of Insat-4B soon after Ariane-5 places it in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 250 km x 35,886 km.

In the following days after launch, MCF will conduct orbit raising manoeuvres to take the satellite into the final 36,000 km circular Geosynchronous Orbit followed by deployment of solar arrays and antennas. Insat-4B will be positioned at 93.5 degree East longitude along with Insat-3A. This will be followed by in-orbit test of the communication payloads. MCF will also carry out regular operations and control of the satellite during its service life.

The Rs 3 billion telecom satellite, which is identical to Insat-4A, carries 12 Ku-band and 12 C-band transponders. European space consortium Arianespace will carry out the launch. It will cost around $ 50 million.


Kalanithi Maran‘s Sun Group has booked seven Ku-band transponders on Insat-4B for its soon to launch (DTH) service Sun Direct, while Prasar Bharati‘s free-to-air (FTA) package DD Direct Plus has booked five.

Sun will be using MPEG-4 technology that will allow it to compress more TV channels per transponder. While MPEG-2 can pack in around 12 channels, the advanced compression technology will be able to accommodate over 20 channels.

Sun may consider itself lucky that the launch of Insat-4C satellite failed in July 2006 after the rocket carrying it veered off course and exploded. Sun had booked six Ku-band transponders (and one more for digital satellite news gathering) on it for its DTH service.

By being located on the same satellite, Sun‘s subscribers will be able to access DD Direct‘s channels without it having to separately put them on its transponders.

Live Transmission: Live Transmission of Insat-4B launch from Kourou will be available for Indian TV channels to relay the programme to their viewers. Details of live transmission are as follows:

Date : Sunday, 11 March
Time : 3:30 am to 5:15 am
(Test Transmission 12:55 am to 1:25 am)
Satellite: Asiasat-2
Location: 100.5 deg. E
Transponder : 7A
Channel : 4
Downlink : 3913 MHz
Polarisation : Vertical
Symbol Rate : 6.1113
FEC : 3/4
Kind of Signal : 9 MHz, DVB, PAL

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