Indian-built European satellite put into earth orbit (Lead, Chanding Dateline)

December 21st, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Dec 21 (IANS) The Indian-built European satellite W2M was successfully placed early Sunday into geosynchronous transfer orbit, about 36,000 km above earth, 32 minutes after its lift-off on board Ariane-5 from Kourou in French Guiana at 4.05 a.m. IST.”Radio signals from the commercial satellite were received by the master control facility of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) at Hassan. The spacecraft’s health is normal,” the space agency said in a statement here. Hassan is located about 200 km from Bangalore.

ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair witnessed the launch of the European launch vehicle from the Guiana space centre at Kourou along with a seven-member team of Indian scientists.

“W2M will be finally positioned in the geostationary orbit 16 degrees East from the transfer orbit in the next 12-24 hours by repeatedly firing the liquid apogee motor (LAM) on board the spacecraft from MCF,” the statement said.

The 3,643 kg communication satellite was separated from Ariane-5 after the accompanying Hot Bird 9 broadcasting satellite of Eutelsat was deployed in the same orbital slot of 13 degrees East.

W2M carries 32 transponders in Ku-band, while Hot Bird has 64 transponders in the same band. The high-power transponders will be used for telecommunications and broadcasting services across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

“W2M is the heaviest commercial spacecraft indigenously built at the satellite centre of ISRO in Bangalore for a foreign satellite operator (Eutelesat). It is capable of operating for 15 years. Its solar panels generate about 7,000 watts of power,” the space agency said.

ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corp was awarded the contract by EADS Astrium for Eutelsat, the Paris-based global satellite communications provider.

According to Antrix managing director Sreedhar Murthi, W2M has flexibility to operate a wide range of services from television broadcasting to data networks and broadband.

The satellite has fixed beam coverage for Europe, North Africa and Middle East and a steerable beam, which can be re-oriented in orbit according to market requirements, notably towards Africa and Central Asia.

“As per the contract, we are responsible for manning the satellite launch and its early orbital phase. The technology and sub-systems required for placing the satellite into the final geostationary orbit were developed by our scientists and engineers at the satellite centre,” ISRO director S. Satish told IANS.

ISRO-Antrix formed the alliance with EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space) and Astrium, Europe’s leading satellite system specialist, in February 2006 during the visit of the then French president to India to build communication and broadcast satellites for the international market.

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