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DoS plans to launch 3 satellites in H1 of FY18 to boost transponder capacity

MUMBAI: After failing to meet the earlier deadline, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch GSAT 11, 17 and 19 in the first half of the financial year, the Department of Space (DoS) told the parliamentary committee on science, technology, environment and forests.

The launch of these three communication satellites will help the government in providing more Ku-band transponders to the growing direct-to-home (DTH) industry.

Minister of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) Venkaiah Naidu recently said that there was a committed demand from the DTH service providers for 68 more transponders. The total satellite transponder capacity used by the DTH operators presently stands at 104 transponders.

ISRO was planning to launch GSAT 11 and GSAT 17 during the fourth quarter of 2016 onboard Ariane-5 Launch Vehicle, while GSAT 19 was scheduled to be launched during first quarter of 2017 by GSLV-Mk III-D1 Launcher from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

The DoS had planned to launch 14 communication satellites during the 12th Plan period for (a) increasing the transponder capacity; (b) introducing new-generation broadband VSAT systems; (c) introduction of Ka-band systems; (d) building high-power S-band satellite mobile communications; and (e) introducing new-generation geo-imaging satellite.

However, the committee noted that the department could manage to launch only seven communication satellites, namely GSAT-10, GSAT-14, GSAT-16, GSAT-7, GSAT-6, GSAT-15 and GSAT-18, during the 12th Plan period.

The committee stated in the report that it was imperative that the department accordingly strategise its action plan so as to keep pace with the increasing demand for the transponders and achieve the targets set for the purpose in a time frame manner.

The department also informed the committee that the allocation made in budget estimate 2017–18 would be adequate to meet the programmatic requirements planned for 2017–18.

It further stated that approvals were being sought for new series of satellites, namely GSAT-20, GSAT-22/23/24, for which enhanced budgetary requirements would be projected at the RE stage.

Work on other ongoing missions such as GSAT 6A and INSAT 3DS would be carried out and would be realised beyond 2017–18. The department was also making progress in other missions like INSAT-3 series, INSAT-4 series and INSAT/GSAT follow-on missions, it said.

Satellites launched so far

a) GSAT-10 communication satellite with 12 Ku-band, 12 C-band and 6 Lower Extended C-band transponders and a GAGAN (GPS and GEO augmented navigation) payload was successfully launched on board Ariane-V from Kourou, French Guiana, on 29 September 2012. GSAT-10 spacecraft has augmented the INSAT/GSAT capacity with 30 transponders.

b) Launch of GSAT-14 communication satellite on board GSLV-D5 with indigenous cryogenic stage on 5 January 2014. GSAT-14 communication satellite has added 14 communication transponders (6 ext-C-band, 6 Ku-band and 2 Ka-band) to INSAT/GSAT capacity.

c) GSAT-16 communication satellite, carrying 48 communication transponders (24 Ku-band, 12 C-band and 12 Ext. C-band), was successfully launched using procured launch services on 7 December 2014. GSAT-16 has augmented the INSAT/GSAT system capacity for DTH, TV broadcasting, tele-communication, rural communications and other societal benefits. Besides, GSAT-7 communication satellite with UHF-band and S-band were launched for special users.

d) GSAT-6 communication satellite with five spot beams in S-band and a national beam in C-band was successfully launched on board GSLV-D6. One of the advanced features of GSAT-6 satellite is its S-Band Unfurlable Antenna of 6 m diameter—the largest satellite antenna realised by ISRO. This antenna is utilised for five spot beams over the Indian mainland. The spot beams exploit the frequency reuse scheme to increase frequency spectrum utilisation efficiency.

e) GSAT-15 communication satellite, carrying 24 communication transponders in Ku-band, as well as a GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload, was successfully launched on 11 November 2015.

f) GSAT-18 communication satellite, carrying 48 communication transponders and Ku-band beacon, was successfully launched on 6 October 2016.

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