“Five Communications Satellites will be launched by 2010-11”

By : |May 2, 2007 0

Firstly hearty congratulations on the successful launch of INSAT-4B by ISRO. How does INSAT-4B further the DTH momentum in the country?

Prior to INSAT-4B launch, the DTH services were being provided through 12 Ku band transponders using INSAT-4A and eight transponders procured from foreign satellites. So far, TATA Sky, Doordarshan (DD) and Dish TV provide DTH using these transponders. Now with the launch of INSAT-4B the dependence on hired transponders will be reduced considerably and new entrants like SunTV will be benefited. The transponders of INSAT-4B will primarily serve SunTV and DD.

Besides, DTH, what are the other communication services that INSAT-4B promises to serve to?

Ku-band transponders are of high power and mainly intended for DTH. C-band transponders again are used for TV broadcasting mainly because the beam coverage is from Asia-pacific to gulf region. But some capacity is used for V-SAT and other telecommunication services.

To augment the DTH further, INSAT-4CR is also to be launched this year. How will it be different from INSAT 4B?

 INSAT-4CR is a replacement for the unsuccessful INSAT-4C that we lost in July, last year. It is to be launched during August/September 2007. INSAT-4CR will be identical to INSAT-4C with 10/12 Ku-band transponders. Had we not lost Insat-4C, we would have had 36 Ku-band transponders by now. Some of the transponders of INSAT-4CR are for DTH services and others for VSAT and High Bit Rate Data Transfer Services.

All this is commendable, but the available transponder capacity is still short of the requirement that is projected to be 300 transponders. How do you plan to fulfill this requirement?

Based on the projected needs ISRO plans to augment the present INSAT system capacity of 200 transponders to 500 in the next five years. In the immediate future, a total of seven satellites are Madhavan Nair, chairman of ISRO planned in the INSAT-4 series of which two satellites, INSAT-4A and INSAT-4B, have already been launched. The remaining satellites are slated for launches before 2010-11. During the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), the transponder capacity will be increased to 500.

Could you share some details of these forthcoming communications satellites?

Following INSAT-4CR, we plan to launch INSAT-4D, which is being configured as an exclusive C-band communication satellite. It will be launched on board GSLV during 2008-09. This satellite will carry twelve normal C-band transponders and six extended C-band transponders with wider coverage in uplink and downlink coverage over Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe as well as zonal coverage.

The next in the INSAT-4 series is INSAT-4E that will carry digital multimedia broadcasting payload. The satellite will cover entire India through five S-band spot beams using SxC and CxS transponders. The C-band coverage for the feeder link will have India coverage. The satellite is likely to be launched during 2009-10 by GSLV.

Following this, INSAT-4F is proposed for a launch during 2010-11, as a multi-band satellite carrying payloads in UHF, S-band, C-band and Ku-band.

And finally, the last in the series, INSAT-4G is proposed as a Ku-band satellite carrying eighteen transponders similar to that of INSAT-4A and INSAT-4B. The satellite is expected to launch during 2009-10.

INSAT (Indian National Satellite) system has been chiefly responsible in bringing about a communications revolution in India. How would you appraise its recent utilization?

The INSAT is aimed at the development of the society in several aspects, besides meeting the national needs of broadcasting and communication. For example, EDUSAT launched in 2004 is being exclusively used for interactive classroom lessons. Over 10,000 classrooms have been networked using the satellite. The telemedicine network using INSAT now connects more than 200 hospitals including 165 in remote and rural areas.

The meteorological CCD camera and data collection platforms connected through INSAT are providing valuable data for weather forecasting. INSAT communication terminals are also used to connect Village Resources Centres set up across over a hundred villages to provide a variety of space-based services. Rural telephone connectivity via the satellite, apart from some part of trunk routes of telephone channels, are on the anvil.

The space agency is also preparing to launch a micro satellite, ANUSAT, for amateur communication. What is the progress so far?

ANUSAT (Anna University micro satellite) is a cooperative micro satellite mission undertaken by Anna University, Chennai. ANUSAT will carry a digital store and forward payload for amateur communication. In addition, a number of technological payloads like digital receiver and turbo coder, MEMS-based gyro and magnetic field sensor are planned to fly on board. The configuration of this satellite has been finalised and preliminary design review completed. Breadboard design of core electronic systems has also been completed.

The flight model is expected to be ready during 2007-08. Anna University is the first university in India that has taken up space technology with emphasis on micro satellite development in its university engineering curriculum. The main objective is to involve universities in building micro satellites as a means to promote and encourage intra-disciplinary technologies with the help of ISRO. Structure, solar panels, chemical battery, sensors and actuators will be supplied by ISRO. The payloads and the other satellite subsystems are designed and fabricated at Anna University.

Will “Moon Mission” have something to contribute to communications services?

No, it is not for communication services. Indian mission to Moon, Chandrayaan-1, to be undertaken during 2008 has the main objective of investigation of the distribution of various minerals and chemical elements, as well as, performing high-resolution three-dimensional mapping of the lunar surface.

ISRO has also joined the bandwagon of Chip manufacturing. What is the objective of entering this Greenfield area?

Early 2005, Dept of Space (DOS) took over Semi-Conductor Complex Limited in Chandigarh, and undertook its restructuring as Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), as a research and developmental unit. SCL is entrusted with design and development of Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) devices and development of systems for telecommunication and space sectors.

The primary objective to enter this domain was to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. SCL has facilities for fabrication of micro-electronic devices in 0.8-micron range and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). Actions to upgrade the facilities to fabricate advanced devices in 0.35-micron range have been initiated.

As Indian telecom scene is making heads turn, what challenges lie ahead for ISRO in taking India to an envious position?

India’s INSAT system is the largest in the Asia Pacific region with 10 satellites in operation — INSAT-2E, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, GSAT-2, EDUSAT, INSAT-4A and INSAT-4B. With the increasing demand for various types of communication, television and meteorological services, the system capacity is being continuously enhanced.

Foreseeing the demands and the new types of communication and continuous innovation in using the system for societal applications is always challenging and ISRO has been able to meet these challenges in many ways like, for example, Telemedicine and EDUSAT program. This commitment will continue in future also. Also, ISRO is planning sophisticated high power satellite for data transmission, and direct connectivity to hand held units.

Source: Voice & Data

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