GSAT-8 launched, to help DTH services

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NEW DELHI: India's advanced communication
satellite GSAT-8 was successfully launched into its
geosynchronous transfer orbit by Arianespace's
launch vehicle Ariane-5 from Kourou in French
Guyana on early Saturday. Weighing about 3100 Kg, GSAT-8 is configured to
carry 24 high-power transponders and a two
channel GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation
(GAGAN) payload. Once it was introduced into its
intended orbit, ISRO's master control facility in
Karnataka's Hassan took control of the satellite and placed it into the geostationary orbit. The satellite
will be positioned at 55 degree E longitude and co-
located with INSAT 3E satellite. Its designed in-orbit
mission life is more than 12 years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the department of space for the successful launch.
Space secretary K Radhakrishnan confirmed that
the launch had been successful, and the master
control facility had taken over. The Ku-band (11-14 Gigahertz) transponders will
augment the capacity of the INSAT system. While,
GAGAN will improve the accuracy of positioning
information received from GPS satellite through an
improved network of ground-based receivers that
will be made available to users in India through geostationary satellites. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
spokesperson S Satish explained that GSAT-8 is
essentially meant for DTH (direct to home) television
services, but ISRO — still smarting from the Devas controversy — is not in a mood for leasing out bandwidth to private players. "None of the
available bandwidth will be leased out to private
operators. Doordarshan will use all of it, which will
increase the state-run broadcaster's reach in the
country," he explained. ISRO's spent Rs 300 crore for the launch, and the
project's cost is about Rs 600 crore. "ISRO has 151 transponders that provide a variety
of services. The launch of GSAT-8 will augment the
transponder capacity with the addition of 24 Ku
band transponders, taking it to a total of 175,"
Satish said. ISRO had lost two satellites last year during its
unsuccessful GSLV missions.

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