World's largest satellite to be launched next month

MUMBAI: Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) has announced that the heaviest commercial satellite ever iPStar-1 satellite has arrived at the Arianespace spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

It is undergoing preparations for launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket on the night of 7-8 July.

The $400 million satellite has been built for Thailand's Shin Satellite. iPStar-1 is designed to provide both enterprises and consumers throughout Asia, Australia and New Zealand with various levels of Internet access services, competing with cable modems and digital subscriber lines (DSL).

Shares of Shin Satellite went up 3.8 per cent a few days ago on the news. The launch of iPStar is expected to help bolster performance and cash flow at the company.

iPStar-1 has a total data throughput capacity of over 40 Gbps. The satellite will provide users with data speeds of up to eight Mbps on the forward link and four Mbps on the return link. From its 119.5 degrees East longitude orbital position, iPStar-1 will use its seven on-board antennas to create 112 spot and regional beams in the Ku and Ka frequency bands. The satellite will generate 14 kW of electrical power throughout its planned 12-year service life.

The original date for launch was supposed to have been night of 24-25 June but a technical problem with one of the two satellites slated for launch resulted in a reordering of Arianespace's mission scheduling.

The next launch is now set for the night of Thursday, July 7 to Friday, July 8, 2005, using an Ariane 5 Generic vehicle.

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