India gearing up for heaviest satellite launch

By agencies   |   Thursday, 29 June 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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SRIHARIKOTA:India is set to break new ground in space field in the second week of July with the first-ever launch of an Insat-class satellite, the heaviest till date, for commercial gains from home soil. Indian space research organization officials are talking about a July 10-15 timeframe for the launch of insat-4C by a geo-synchronous launch vehicle from the spaceport here, giving a boost to direct-to-home television broadcast.

With preparations for the launch being done from the second launch pad, on the East coast of Andhra Pradesh, about 80 kms North of Chennai, It's for the first time that India's space agency is putting into space a two-ton class satellite. Equipped with 12 high-powered KU band transponders, the 2,180 kg spacecraft is designed for a mission life of 10 years.

ISRO officials say launch from a homegrown rocket meant cutting launch costs by one-third, if the same was to be launched from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana by an ariane vehicle; India has to pay 30 to 35 per cent more.

Analysts are also seeing insat-4C as another "cash-cow" for ISRO. All its transponders have been booked well in advance, including by the Sun TV. ISRO, headquartered, is keen to ride the impending boom in the DTH services segment.

The 1950 kg EDUSAT was the first Insat-class satellite launched from home soil. Launched in September 2004, it was mainly intended to meet the demand for an interactive satellite-based distance education system.

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