Satellites

Measat-3 satellite successfully launched

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MUMBAI: A Proton Breeze M launch vehicle, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, successfully placed the Measat-3 satellite into orbit earlier today.

After separation, the satellite will be manoeuvred into its orbital location and will undergo in-orbit testing. This is expected to be completed by 1 February, 2008.

The project cost of the Measat-3 satellite is $ 280 million.

Providing 300 per cent more capacity at the key 91.5E orbital location, Measat-3 is one of the region's most technologically advanced satellites.

Measat-3 has 24 Ku-band transponders and has been designed to provide capability for data services and Direct-to-Home (DTH) applications in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Indian Subcontinent. The satellite has been designed with a C-Band payload capable of reaching over 100 countries, representing 70 per cent of the world's population, and the most powerful Ku-band DTH coverage for over 160 million TV households in the countries under its footprint.

Measat-3's launch opens up the options available to Indian operators looking to enter the DTH arena. Kalanithi Maran's southern broadcast network Sun Group's Sun Direct DTH service is ready to launch and is only waiting a satellite to beam off. Anil Ambani's ADAG also has plans for a DTH service under the brand name Bluemagic, which is headed by the former CEO of Zee Group's Dish TV, Sunil Khanna.

It may be recalled that the unfortunate failure in July of the GSLV-F02 launch rocket carrying the Insat-4C communication satellite had wrecked the timetables for the launch of Sun Direct.

Sun had booked seven high-power Ku-band transponders, six for DTH and one for DSNG (digital satellite news gathering), of the total 12 carried by the Indian Space Research Organisation's Insat-4C.

Said Measat's COO, Paul Brown-Kenyon: "The launch of Measat-3 will enhance our ability to support Malaysian and international customers. It will not only augment capacity but also enhance redundancy capabilities for customers using the Measat-1 satellite. Planning is already underway for the launch of Measat- 1R, scheduled for end 2007 / early 2008, which is being developed to support and sustain future growth requirements for existing and prospective customers."

Currently operating a two satellite network, Measat provides video distribution services across East and South East Asia, Indochina, South Asia and Australia. The launch of Measat-3, and Measat-1R end 2007 / early 2008 will extend the reach of the Measat fleet, providing customers with a satellite able to reach Pay-TV operators in over 100 countries, representing more than 70 per cent of the world's population. Leveraging facilities at the Measat Teleport and Broadcast Centre, and working with a select group of world-class media partners including Astro, Pacific Century Matrix and STT, Measat provides a complete range of broadcast services including video playout, up-linking, and video turnaround to and from the key European and North American markets.

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