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|March 24, 1999||
INSAT-2E set to launch commercial satellite programmeC N R Vijaykumar in Bangalore
INSAT-2E, the most sophisticated Indian multipurpose satellite, has been fuelled to take off on April 3. This heralds the era of commercial Indian communications satellites.
Indian Space Research Organisation sources said here today that the satellite, now undergoing pre-launch tests at Kourou in French Guyana, would be mated with its Ariane 4 launcher on March 29 or 30 and would be located at 83 degrees east longitude.
Eleven of INSAT-2E's 17 transponders have been leased out already to Intelsat.
Sources said INSAT-2E, a forerunner to the next generation of INSAT satellites, is in perfect condition and ISRO scientists have almost completed various pre-launch tests.
ISRO Chairman K Kasturirangan will reach Kourou later this week to carry out a final review of the satellite prior to its mating with its launcher, the sources said.
Weighing 2,550 kg, the satellite is planned to provide a mission life of 12 years, thus beginning a new era of long-life mission satellites under the Indian Space Programme.
It would provide the largest-ever communication coverage realised in the INSAT system.
Other state-of-the-art technology elements used in the satellite include embedded heat pipe panels for efficient thermal control, high efficiency gallium arsenic and germanium cells in the solar array for obtaining better power-to-area ratio and high capacity nickel hydrogen batteries for full payload operations.
Use of hybrid microcircuits and application specific integrated circuits have helped reduce volume and mass of the platform system electronic packages.
For the first time, the communications payloads used shaped-beam dual-grid antennae to provide land mass coverage.
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