Satellites

Ariane 5 may launch Insat-3C in November

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India's next generation communication satellite Insat-3C, which was scheduled for launch on 11 September on an Ariane 5, is likely to be lifted into orbit only in late November instead of September as earlier scheduled.

There has been speculation over what would happen to the Insat-3C launch after Ariane 5's Flight 142, launched on 12 July, failed to achieve proper orbit.

A seven-member probe team instituted by Arianespace after the launch failure identified combustion instability during upper stage engine ignition as the source of Flight 142's malfunction. The origin of the combustion instability was attributed to an unfavourable hydraulic dynamic coupling between the propellant feed system and the internal fluid cavities of the combustion chamber.

The upper stage malfunction, which occurred during Flight 142's final propulsion phase, resulted in the mission's dual satellite payload being delivered to a lower than expected orbit, the probe team concluded.

Arianespace has set a comprehensive recovery plan to address the upper stage malfunction and now expects to return Ariane 5 to commercial service by late November. This represents a delay of two months compared to the original launch manifest and will cause relatively minor schedule implications for the remainder of 2001 and early 2002, an official release states .

Insat-3C, which has 30 transponders, will be catering to the growing demand for V-SATs (very small aperture terminals) and broadcast services in the country.

The 1,170 kg Insat-3C will provide fixed satellite services (FSS) in the normal and extended C-bands, as also broadcast satellite services and mobile satellite services in the S-band.

Insat-3C will replace India's current workhorse, Insat-2C, whose capacity would be transferred to the new bird. Insat-2C is expected to reach the end of its seven-year life span in another six months.

The next launch schedule for Arianespace (flight 143) originally set for 24 August has now been rescheduled to 30 August. An Ariane 4 4L launcher is putting an Intelsat 902 communications and television satellite into orbit.

REMOTE SENSING DATA POLICY ANNOUNCED IN PARLIAMENT:

It was announced in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) that India plans to develop high resolution imaging satellites in the near future.

The government has approved and adopted a comprehensive Remote Sensing Data Policy (RSDP) for the acquisition and distribution of satellite remote sensing data - from Indian and foreign satellites for civilian users in India. The policy comprehensively covers guidelines for satellite data acquisition and distribution in the country and also for licensing the IRS capacities to other countries. Department of Space (DOS) will be the nodal agency for implementing the policy.

As per the policy, government permission is required for operating a remote sensing satellite from India and also for distribution of satellite images in India. The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has been identified as the national acquisition/distribution agency for all satellite data within India and has been allowed to enter into agreements for any foreign satellite data distribution in India. Antrix Corporation (of DOS) is identified to license IRS capacities outside of India.

The policy has safeguards for ensuring that images of sensitive areas are screened out, so that national security interests are protected. In particular, the policy streamlines the distribution of high-resolution data to Government users; private users involved in developmental activities with government and other private/academic/foreign users.

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