BANGALORE: India’s latest telecommunication satellite INSAT-4B was successfully launched on 12 March by the European Ariane 5 rocket from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
INSAT-4B, which would boost Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV services and augment the INSAT system, was injected into space within minutes after its co-passenger Skynet 5A military communication satellite for the British Ministry of Defence was placed in orbit.
Within minutes after the launch, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Master Control Facility at Hassan, Karnataka, took control of INSAT-4B.
“I have information from MCF that signals received from the satellite are extremely good. We believe that in the next few days, we should be able to raise the orbit to the synchronous heights of 36,000 kms,” ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said in his post-launch remarks at Kourou.
A technical hitch had delayed by a day the launch of INSAT-4B and Skynet 5A by the heavylift Ariane 5 rocket with the mission put on hold seven minutes before the scheduled blast-off yesterday.
Describing the launch as “precise”, Nair said Ariane had once again proved that they could do the job “on the dot and give orbit with a textbook precision.
Nair thanked the team members who worked in the last 24 hours to remove the operational anamoly at the launch pad.
The 3,025-kg INSAT spacecraft with a mission life of 12 years carries 24 communications transponders.The transponders, Nair said, would be used to facilitate various forms of entertainment, connectivity to remote places and communication for business and other applications. The 12 March launch was the first of the year for commercial launch services provider Arianespace. INSAT-4B is the 13th ISRO satellite to use the European launcher since India’s experimental satellite APPLE in 1981.