Satellites

Isro's Insat 4A launched successfully

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MUMBAI: The Insat 4A communications satellite for the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and the MSG-2 weather satellite for the European organisation Eumetsat were successfully launched into geostationary transfer orbit by Arianespace early this morning.

With 12 high power Ku-band transponders Insat 4A is the first satellite to meet the requirement of direct-to-home (DTH) television services apart from carrying 12 C-band transponders to augment the Insat capacity for communication and TV services.

The 12 Ku-band transponders have been leased out to the Tata-Sky DTH venture. Its footprint will primarily cover the entire Indian sub-continent.

Insat 4A, which weighs about 3,200 kg. at launch and was designed, assembled and integrated by Isro in Bangalore, will give a shot in the arm for DTH services in India.

Apart from Tata Sky, several other Indian players like Anil Ambani's company and the Sun TV group are waiting for space on Insat series of satellites to start their DTH services that have been announced earlier.

Meanwhile, Arianespace carried out five successful launches in 2005, using three standard Ariane 5G and two Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicles, to orbit eight satellites and over 26 tons of payload.

Today's launch was the 21st successful launch of an Ariane 5 and the 11th in a row.

Ariane 5 is the only commercial launcher in service capable of

simultaneously launching two payloads and giving customers the performance, flexibility and competitiveness they expect. The Insat 4A and MSG-2 missions were carried out by a standard Ariane 5G launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Thursday 22 December at 3:33 am (IST).

When Ariane L03 was launched on 19 June, 1981, it carried Isro's experimental satellite Apple, and the Meteosat weather satellite for Eumetsat.

Insat 4A is the 12th satellite for which Isro has chosen the European launcher. Arianespace will also be launching another Isro satellite Insat 4B in the near future.

MSG-2 (Meteosat Second Generation) is the eighth Eumetsat (European Meteorological Satellite organisation) satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

The first MSG satellite was launched by Arianespace on 28

August, 2002, and a ninth satellite, MSG-3, is scheduled for an Ariane

launch in 2009. Starsem, a subsidiary of Arianespace, has two Eumetsat satellites in its order book, Metop A and Metop B.

Provisional parameters at injection of the storable propellant upper stage (EPS) were:

Perigee: 622 km. for a target of 622 km. (±3)

Apogee: 36,152 km. for a target of 36,159 km. (±160)

Inclination: 4.02 degrees for a target of 4.00 degrees (±0.06º)

MSG-2, the second Meteosat Second Generation satellite, is part of a European program comprising four geostationary weather satellites.

MSG-2 was built by prime contractor Alcatel Alenia Space, and will weigh about 2,000 kg. at launch.

The satellite is fitted with 12 separate observation channels, three in the visible wavelength, and nine infrared. It will transmit images every 15 minutes. MSG-2 will ensure service continuity, giving meteorologists a powerful weather observation and forecasting tool covering Europe and neighbouring regions.

 

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