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ISRO advances GSAT-16 launch by six months to December

MUMBAI: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the primary space agency of India, will launch its communication satellite GSAT-16 by December, six months earlier than planned.

The decision to advance GSAT-16 launch came after the older INSAT-3E expired in March this year, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan told The Hindu.

“GSAT-16 will replace INSAT-3E [in the same space orbit at 55 degrees East longitude]. It was planned to be launched in the middle of 2015. After 3E was decommissioned in April, we advanced GSAT-16, which will now go in December this year,” the newspaper quotes Radhakrishnan as saying.

Radhakrishnan said that the assembly venue in Bangalore is ready with the spacecraft. “Advancing a satellite by five to six months is a difficult job, but we did it. We also got a slot from Arianespace (launch company) and as of now, we are talking of a launch around December 6,” he said.

GSAT-16 is a geostationary communication satellite which will carry 24 C-band, 12 Ku-band and 12 Upper Extended C-band transponders. GSAT-16 satellite will support satellite based telecommunication, television, VSAT and other services in the country.

The previous government had approved Rs 865.5 crore (Rs 8.66 billion) for development and launch services of GSAT-16 including insurance for the satellite.

Transponders on communication satellites are leased to users after the launch and operationalisation of the satellite. Department of Space leases the transponders on INSAT/GSAT satellites through ANTRIX Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the department.

The revenue earned by ANTRIX through leasing of INSAT/GSAT transponders during the year 2012-13 is around Rs 482.67 crore (Rs 4.83 billion). This revenue accrues from service providers of direct-to-home (DTH) services, TV uplink services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) services and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services.