Indian broadcasting satellite set for March launch
Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Text of report by Indian broadcast industry website on 17 January

The Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Insat-4B satellite is scheduled to be launched from Kourou in French Guiana in the first week of March. This was confirmed by ISRO chief G. Madhavan Nair on Monday [15 January]. Speaking in Thiruvananthapuram in the southern state of Kerala, Nair was quoted in media reports as saying: “Final tests are being conducted on the satellite and it will be moved to French Guiana by the end of this month.”

The Insat-4B, the second satellite in the Insat-4 series, will be carrying 12 Ku band and as many C band transponders for communication and broadcasting services. One likely customer for the Ku-band transponders is Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Group, which had booked space last year on the failed Insat-4C for its DTH venture Sun Direct. Sun TV had booked six transponders for DTH and one for DSNG (digital satellite news gathering) on the Insat-4C.

Speaking to Indiantelevision last August after the failure of the Insat-4C launch mission, ISRO contract management and legal services director SB Iyer had said: “We have the flexibility to accommodate Sun. If there is an early requirement, we can give them space on an Indian or foreign satellite.”

Current indications are that Insat-4B, which was originally meant for Doordarshan’s DTH service DD Direct Plus, will likely be used to accommodate Sun as well. When asked about it today, Iyer was noncommittal though, stating: “We are still deciding [whether] we will be accommodating one or two DTH providers.”

(Source: website, Mumbai, in English 0000 gmt 17 Jan 07 via BBC Monitoring)