- GSAT-18, India’s heaviest satellite to date at 3,404 kg, is scheduled to be launched from the European spacepad of Kourou in French Guiana.
- It. is expected to add a few new transponders for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The 48 transponders on the new satellite , including 12 in the Ku-band, should ease ISRO’s shortfall in meeting the growing demand from its numerous users.
- GSAT-18 will be lifted to its space orbit on a European Ariane-5 rocket, ISRO said. Its Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar will be present for the launch happening from the South American space port.
- ISRO last launched a communication satellite in November last year. That spacecraft, GSAT-15, did not add new numbers but has replaced the ageing INSAT-3A and a partially crippled INSAT-4B in the 93 degrees East slot.
More to follow
- GSAT-9, GSAT-19 and [the 5700-kg] GSAT-11 are also being assembled at ISAC. We hope to have them all launched by March or April 2017.”
- As of May last year, totally 286 transponders were available for various uses in the country.
- 96 Ku-band transponders were leased on foreign satellites, mainly for direct-to-home television broadcasters.
- GSAT-18 was approved in May 2015 with a budget of Rs. 1,022 crore, which includes the fee to launch provider Arianespace. It will supplement the INSAT-4CR, sent to orbit in 2007, at the same slot of 74 degrees East longitude.
- In the coming days, when it is in its final slot GSAT18 is expected to support the services of users in telecommunication, broadcasting, VSAT services and digital satellite news gathering areas.