Bangalore: India has approved building its heaviest communication satellite so far for telecom services, with capacity equal to what it currently provides using 11 satellites.
The 4.5 tonne satellite, GSAT-11, will be launched by 2012 and carry 40 transponders in the Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies, which are 3-6 times more powerful than that used in existing communication satellites.
This can provide bandwidth capacity equivalent to as much as 220 transponders by reusing the beams in multiple regions.
New mission: Isro campus in Bangalore. It will be the heaviest communication satellite so far for telecom services. Hemant Mishra / Mint
India currently has 211 transponders in the 11 INSAT series satellites at their space home in the geo-synchronous transfer orbit, or GTO, some 36,000km above earth.
“This would help us address growing demand from users,” said S. Satish, spokesman for Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, the country’s space agency.
The cabinet on Thursday sanctioned Rs500 crore for the satellite to be built in 30 months, the government said in a statement on Friday.
The satellite will be launched by a homegrown rocket under development—GSLV Mk3—which can carry satellites of at least 4 tonne.
Most Indian satellites for telecom services and television broadcasts in orbit use the lower C-band frequency, except two satellites dedicated for direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasts that use the higher Ku-band frequency.
“The (Ka-band) beam can be targeted at a specific place. The quality of reception will be much higher,” T.K. Alex, director of Isro satellite centre in Bangalore, said in an earlier interview in June.
“This (Ka-band) will become very common in few years,” he said.
Isro will test the Ka-band technology in its forthcoming experimental satellite GSAT-4, to be launched later this year, he had said.
India aims to increase its transponder capacity to 500 during the 11th Plan, which ends in March 2012. The country plans to launch six satellites by then, some to replace its ageing satellites in orbit.
Globally, there are more than 6,000 communication transponders in space. The growth of transponder requirement in the next five years is predicted to be only moderate—about 8,000—with multimedia and high-definition television being the growth drivers, a Isro report on the 11th Plan said.