MUMBAI: MEASAT Global Berhad (MEASAT) has announced that the launch of the MEASAT-3b satellite has been rescheduled to September 2014. The satellite will remain in storage at the European Spaceport, Kourou, French Guiana till then.
MEASAT-3b had previously been scheduled for launch on 6 June 2014 GFT (7 June Kuala Lumpur time). The launch date was rescheduled after the manufacturer of the MEASAT-3b co-passenger requested time for repairs to their satellite.
“We are clearly disappointed with the delay and are currently in co-ordination with Arianespace (the launch service provider) on the rescheduling of the launch,” MEASAT chief executive officer Paul Brown-Kenyon had then said.
It can be noted that the initial date for launch of the satellite was 28 May, which was then rescheduled to 6 June. The reason cited then was to allow the MEASAT-3b co-passenger additional time to prepare for the launch.
When the launch was first postponed, MEASAT senior vice president – space system development Dr Ali Ebadi had said, “The main focus of the launch campaign is to ensure that both the satellite and launch vehicle are ready for launch. Given the complexity of the satellite and launch vehicle, it is not uncommon for the technical teams to request time for additional checks.”
With the satellite launch being pushed to September, Direct to Home (DTH) operator Sun Direct’s plans to move to MEASAT 3b and thus add nine transponders to its existing four and to also take its HD channel offering from the current 11 to 30 and SD from 210 channels to 350 will take a backseat.
“We will be shifting to MEASAT 3b and hence, will get nine transponders by first week of June. Our HD offering is currently low, but with the extra capacity we aim to take it to 30, while we expect the number of SD channels to go up to 350,”Sun Direct MD Mahesh Kumar had earlier told indiantelevision.com.
MEASAT-3b is designed to provide an additional 48 high powered Ku-band transponders at the 91.5°E orbital slot to expand DTH and VSAT services across Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia. Co-located with MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a, the satellite will more than double MEASAT’s Ku-band capacity at 91.5°E creating one of the region’s most powerful and robust orbital locations.