DTH

Insat-2B loses earthlock; Isro recovers it; but for how long?

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India's space segment will be a satellite poorer with the instability of Insat 2B, a seven year old satellite which has possibly is going through the last throes of death.



The satellite lost its earth lock late Friday evening, which meant that the bird's direction -- which is fixed to constantly face a specific side of the earth -- had changed. The change in direction resulted in the satellite's solar panels losing their orientation towards the sun, thus preventing them from adequately charging Insat 2B's solar batteries. When Isro engineers discovered this, they shut down the satellite on Friday.



The engineers disclosed that "the recovery attempts have become difficult due to depleted condition of the oxidizer on board the satellite, which is required for orbit and attitude control."



However, they got it back under control and it started humming once more on Saturday, restoring services to some telecommunications and broadcast users. Insat 2B has 10-12 transponders that were being used to support telecommunications, VSats (Very Small Aperture Terminals) and radio networking functions. But then they lost control again, and this has been recurring repeatedly when they manage to rescue to it.



Isro is supposed to reach a decision on 6 November on whether it will continue with its recovery efforts or let the satellite die.



Broadcasters such as Star News - through New Delhi Television - use the V-Sats for electronic news gathering from its correspondents nationwide.



Isro has moved the users of the satellite to transponders on Insat 3C.

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