Satellites

Insat4c: ISRO gears up for 10-15 July launch

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MUMBAI: 10 to 15 July 2006. That's the launch window that the Indian Space Research Organisation has set aside for the launch of DTH services satellite Insat 4C. According to ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair the indigeneously designed launch vehicle has been moved to the launch pad in Sriharikota.

The GSLV Mark II is a 49-metre tall rocket weighing around 40 tonnes at lift-off. Its payload is the Insat 4C satellite, with 12 ku band transponders and a mission life span of 10 years.

Most of the satellite's capacity has been booked for DTH services by the Sun Network, National Informatics Centre and VSAT (very small aperture terminals) operators.

The succesful launch of the GSLV will pitchfork India's ISRO into an elite group of countries and groups with indigeneous satellite design and launch capabilities: United States, Russia, Japan, China and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Nair was speaking to journalists at a satellite navigation conference which was held at its offices in Bangalore yesterday. He said that the launch window date will be kept, good weather permitting.

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. It will, however, be using the services of Arianespace to launch the Insat 4B satellite from Kouru in French Guiana next year.

"With the commissioning of the Rs 3.5 billion ($75mn) 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.

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