Satellites

Arianespace readies Insat 4A, weather satellite for launch

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MUMBAI: On the heels of Arianespace's record-setting Ariane 5 success this week for DirecTV and Indonesia's Telkom 2; preparations are moving ahead for the launcher's next dual-payload mission - which is scheduled for the second half of December.

ArianeSpace today announced that preparations were underway at the European Spaceport at Kourou in French Guyana for the next launch of Ariane 5G vehicle that will place in the geosynchronous transfer orbit the Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro) communication payload Insat 4A along with the number 2 Meteosat Second Generation (MSG-2) meteorological satellite for Europe, during the second week of December.

The heaviest in the INSAT class, INSAT 4A weighing more than three tonnes, would augment the transponder availability for the country. It has 12 transponders in the KU Band and 12 in C Band. All the KU Band transponders have already been booked by Tata-Sky.

Tata-Sky CEO ,Vikram Kaushik had confirmed to indiantelevision.com earlier that Isro had intimated that Insat 4A, the first in a satellite series crucial to the future of the Tata Sky DTH venture, would be launched on 16 December.

With an operational lifetime of seven years, the cylindrical-shaped MSG-2 will provide high-resolution images of the Earth's weather patterns, as well as measure the planet's radiation balance to provide vital information on climate change. MSG-2 also carries a search and rescue transponder that relays signals from aircraft and ships in distress.

The satellite currently is in the S5 satellite preparation facility at Europe's Spaceport, where it is undergoing pre-launch checkout.

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