Satellites

GSLV to launch Insat-4C on 10 July

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MUMBAI: The countdown is on for the launch of GSLV-F02, which will be carrying the state-of-the-art communication satellite Insat-4C into space. The launch is expected to take place around 4:30 pm on Monday, 10 July, the Indian Space Research Organisation announced today.

Preparations for the launch are proceeding satisfactorily at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota from the second launch pad. The launch vehicle systems have been integrated and checked out, Isro said in a statement issued today.

Insat-4C was transported from Isro Satellite Centre, Bangalore to SDSC SHAR in the first week of June 2006 and since then, it has undergone detailed checks. After propellant filling, the spacecraft has been integrated with GSLV.

The Mission Readiness Review is planned on 6 July, 2006 followed by the meeting of Launch Authorisation Board which will clear the launch. In the next few days, a complete checkout of the fully integrated launch vehicle along with satellite will be carried out. The final countdown and fuel filling for the liquid propellant stages are expected to commence on the morning of 9 July.

Insat-4C is the second satellite in the Insat-4 series. The first, Insat-4A, was launched in December last year, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana by an Ariane5 vehicle, which also carried the Meteosat weather Satellite for Eumetsat.

Isro spokespersons have been pointing out that using indigeneous launch vehicles will result in a saving of about 30-40 per cent or Rs 1.5 billion in expenses per launch. With four satellites to be launched by GSLV Mark II and Mark III, the savings thus will be substantial. Isro will, however, be using the services of Arianespace to launch the Insat 4B satellite from Kouru next year.

"With the commissioning of the Rs 3.5 billion ($75million) second launch pad at Sriharikota, India is the only country to have such a state-of-the-art facility to launch different types of vehicles Ranging from PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicle), GSLV Mark-1, GSLV Mark-II to the upcoming GSLV Mark-III in the four-tonne class," a top Isro official is reported to have said sometime back.

It's for the first time that India's space agency is putting into orbit a two-tonne class satellite. Equipped with 12 high-powered Ku band transponders (Like the earlier Insat-4A), the 2,180 kg spacecraft is designed for a mission life of 10 years.

Insat-4C is designed to provide direct-to-home (DTH) television services, facilitate video picture transmission (VPT) and digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) as well as to serve the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for its VSAT connectivity. The 2,168 kg Insat-4C has a mission life of ten years.

Insat-4C will be used for broadcasting 150 TV channels through the DTH platform. Kalanithi Maran's Sun Group has booked space on Insat 4C for its DTH venture Sun Direct. All the Ku-band transponders on the Insat 4A satellite, meanwhile, have been leased to the Tata-Star consortium, which will soon be launching the Tata Sky DTH service.

Other than Tata Sky and Sun Direct, there is also Anil Ambani's DTH venture Reliance Bluemagic, which will be rolling out in due course.

At present, DD Direct Plus managed by the pubcaster Prasar Bharati and the Subhash Chandra owned Dish TV are the two operators offering DTH services in the country.

Salient features of Insat-4C:

Orbit: Geostationary (74 degree East Longitude)
Co-located with Insat-3C, KALPANA-1 and EDUSAT
Lift-off Mass: 2,168 kg
Mission: 10 years
Communication Payloads: 12 Ku-band 36 MHz bandwidth Transponders employing 140 W Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs) to provide an Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) of 51.5 dBW at Edge of Coverage (EOC) with footprint covering Indian mainland; Ku-band Beacon as an aid to users to lock on to the satellite signal

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