Satellites

ISRO’s GSAT-15 launch on 11 November; DTH to benefit

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NEW DELHI: Even as Indians are celebrating the festival of lights, a new bird  from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to be blasted off into geostationary orbit come early 11 November from Kouro in French Guiana.  The satellite GSAT-15 – with its 24 Ku-band transponders - is going to provide a lifeline to India’s DTH television operators.

It is currently waiting at the launch pad as a payload of an Ariane 5 Rocket  - launch firm Arianespace’s trusted launcher - in launch complex No 3 in Kouru. The satellite cost – including the launch fee – is at Rs 860 crore.

The GSAT-15 will replace two older birds – INSAT-3A and INSAT-4B – both are which are at the fag end of their lives. INSAT 3A will expire in November while 4b will cease functioning later next year.

Most of the transponder capacity on these two satellites is being utilized by Prasar Bharati’s DD and  DTH operators FreeDish and  Sun Direct, according to satellite TV tracker Lyngsat.

GSAT-15 will thus see these services being shifted to its transponders, which will also serve the needs of VSAT operators who offer Digital satellite news gathering operations to India’s news channels. It will also be carrying as a GPS-Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands as  a backup service for airlines and other users of augmented GPS-based system.  According to ISRO, it has a design life of 12 years and its weight will be 3,164 kg at lift-off

The Ariane-5 VA-227 launch vehicle, which will launch GSAT 15, will also carry Arabsat-6B for Arabsat, Saudi Arabia. Arabsat-6B, to be renamed BADR-7 once in orbit, will be the ninth satellite orbited by Arianespace for use by the operator Arabsat, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the initial sixth-generation satellite for Arabsat's fleet, providing broadcast, broadband and telecommunications services over the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

The Ariane 5 mission will have a total payload lift performance of 9,810 kg, Arianespace said. This includes the two satellites' mass at liftoff - 5,798 kg for Arabsat-6B and 3,164 kg for GSAT-15 - along with launcher integration hardware and Ariane 5's dual-passenger deployment system, it added.

The launch is planned to take place during a launch window of 21:34 and 22:17 pm coordinated universal time (around 03:04 am IST).

Interested viewers can watch it live on http://www.arianespace.tv.

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