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Communication satellite Insat-3E launched

Press Trust of India

Posted: Sep 28, 2003 at 1709 hrs IST

India's advanced communication satellite Insat-3E was successfully launched by an European rocket from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guyana early on Monday, giving a boost to telecom and television services.

The European consortium Ariane space's Ariane 5 launcher lofted a trio of payloads - Insat-3E, E-bird for Europe's Eutelsat and smart-1 for the European space agency - in an intricate multi-sequence mission.

The 162nd flight of Ariane 5 soared majestically in an excellent weather at 0444 hours IST, leaving a trail of orange flames in its wake and completed the 13th mission of the launch vehicle, telecast live by Doordarshan.

The fourth satellite in the Insat series, the spacecraft is equipped with 24 normal C-band and 12 extended C-band transponders, swelling the present capacity of nearly 95 transponders in the five already operational Insat satellites.

The 2775 kg Insat-3E has an operational lifetime of 15 years. Insat system is the mainstay for communication and broadcasting in the country.

"It's a proud moment for me from the Indian side to witness this great event. It (Ariane 5) has proven its strength and precision. It has put the spacecraft into precise orbit", a beaming new Chairman of city-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation, G. Madhavan Nair, said.

Soon after the Insat-3E was injected into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), ISRO's master control facility at Hassan in Karnataka acquired the spacecraf1t. "Performance of the satellite is normal", ISRO said.

Insat-3E will now be raised by ISRO to its final Geostationary orbit, which is about 36,000 kms above the equator, by firing its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM).

To be positioned at 55-degree east longitude (over the Indian Ocean), the spacecraft will provide telecommunications and TV transmission services for the Indian sub-continent.

Besides, it's also targeting a unique programme of tele-education providing education to the poor and needy as well as tele-medicine administering medical services from the metros to villages and remote areas, Nair said in post-launch remarks at Kourou.

The run-up to the launch of Insat-3E, which is now expected to be operational sometime next month, was not without any hitch.

The spacecraft was originally scheduled for launch late last month but a quality alert received from the Japanese manufacturer of solid state power amplifier components of the communication payload made it necessary for ISRO to conduct retests, which were done in the last four weeks.

Nair congratulated ISRO scientists for taking the corrective measures in the shortest possible time to overcome the "type of crisis we went through in the last one month".

Nair, who took over from K Kasturirangan as ISRO chief four weeks ago, said India has a well-thought-out space programme for the next one decade to develop newer spacecraft, newer launch vehicles and applications at large.

Meanwhile, ISRO sources said India currently does not have the capability to launch Insat-class spacecraft but is expected to master the expertise in two years.

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