GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 get the go ahead from the Cabinet

MUMBAI:Two Indian birds are on the way to Indian skies in the next two to three years (if launch schedules are kept). The Union Cabinet earlier today gave its approval to the proposals from the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to enhance its satellite capacity through the GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 communication satellite projects. The government‘s nod now allows it to go ahead with its process to get a good launch partner as well as the required insurance cover for the two satellites.

In the past decade, Isro has relied on commercial launch consortium Arianespace as its launch partner for a majority of its big bird communication launches from Kourou, French Guiana.

GSat-15 and GSat-16 are part of Isro‘s efforts towards building in-orbit spare capacity to meet contingency requirements and to protect the services of existing users.

GSat-15 (similar to GSat-10 which is yet to provide services to its clients despite a launch some nine months ago) is slated to be put together and launched in 18 months at an approved cost of Rs 859.5 crore. As compared to this, GSat-10 cost the agency around Rs 750 crore at the time of its launch in September 2012.

GSat-15 will provide required redundant capacity, will augment Ku-band capacity, and shall provide in-orbit redundant requirement of safety of life operations benefitting civil aviation services in the country. It will be located at 93.5 degrees east with a payload of 24 Ku-band transponders with an EIRP of 52 dBW.

On the other hand, GSAT-16 has an approved satellite production and launch budget of Rs 865.50 crore with a launch timeline of 24 months. It is targeted to meet contingency requirements, protect services of existing users and will augment and support existing telecommunication, television, VSAT and other satellite based services in the country

The satellite will have 48 transponders providing C-band, extended C-band, and Ku-band frequencies (24 normal C, 12 extended C and 12 Ku-band). Its Ku-band beacon transmistter is expected to be the highest for an Indian satellite. G-Sat 16 is to be co-located with GSat-8 at 55 degrees East.

Isro currently has nine operational INSAT/GSAT satellites in orbit with nearly 195 transponders providing different frequency bands to its customers.

Its Insat 3D meteorological satellite has already been lined up for a 25 July launch using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana.

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