Union cabinet approves GSAT-15 and GSAT-16
- The Union Cabinet gave its approval to GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 communication satellite projects along with procurement of launch services and insurance.
- The projects aimed to create an in-orbit spare capacity to meet any contingency and protect the services of existing users.
- Estimated costs for GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 projects were ₹859.5 crore and ₹865.5 crore respectively including launch services and insurance cover.
What are transponders?
Transponders in communication satellites receive signals over a range of uplink frequencies and re-transmits them on a different set of downlink frequencies to receivers on earth, often without changing the content of the received signals.
ISRO launches new communications satellite
- India's latest communications satellite, GSAT-15, was successfully launched into orbit on 11 November at 3.04 am IST.
- It was launched into orbit from Kourou in French Guiana, South America, by the European Ariane 5 VA-227 launch vehicle.
- In the coming days, ISRO will perform orbit raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in a 24-hour period Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator).
Achieved orbit 'very close to the intended one'
GSAT-15 was launched into an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee and apogee of 250 km and 35,819 km respectively, angled at 3.9 degrees to the equator, an orbit "very close to the intended one" according to ISRO.
GSAT-15 and its benefits
- India has a shortage of transponders in space with Indian satellite systems being able to handle just one-third of the required capacity.
- The rest is leased from foreign satellite owners.
- GSAT-15's 24 ku-band transponders will mainly cater to private and public direct-to-home broadcasters and VSAT operators.
- GSAT-15's GPS-aided augmented navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands will aid the civil aviation sector.
Who was the co-passenger?
The Ariane 5 VA-227 launch vehicle, along with the 3,164 kg GSAT-15, also carried the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation's 5,798 kg Arabsat 6B satellite which will provide telecommunication services to Africa, West Asia and Central Asia.
Modi congratulates ISRO on GSAT-15 launch
- "Congratulations to the entire team @Isro for the successful launch of GSAT-15 Communication Satellite," tweeted PM Modi.
- If India is to benefit from FDI reforms announced on Tuesday allowing foreign direct investment in non-news channels through auto route, DTH and Cable Networks, ISRO needs to have many more transponders in space.
- With GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 to be launched next year, things are looking up.