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Scientists working to fix power snag in Indian satellite
Published on 10 Jul. 2010 12:20 AM IST
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Scientists of the Indian space agency Friday are working to fix the power snag that switched off 12 transponders of the INSAT-4B communications satellite Wednesday night and restore services to some television channels and telecom operators.
A transponder is a communication component that receives a signal and sends it back at a different frequency, allowing near- instantaneous transmission between distant points on the earth’s surface.
An official of the Indian Space Reserch Organisation (ISRO) said the power glitch looked like the one happened to W2M satellite built by the space agency for Eutelsat Communications in January.
“The problem INSAT-4B seems to be similar to the one that affected W2M satellite co-built by ISRO and EADS Astrium when in orbit. It is good that the INSAT-4B satellite is under ISRO’s control so that efforts on setting right the snag can go on,” he told IANS.
The 3.4 tonne W2M, the heaviest built by ISRO, launched by Ariane5 rocket from French Guyana in December 2008 developed problem in its power supply sub-systems when it was being transferred to its intended orbit from the test orbit and Eutelsat later said the satellite is not available for service.
An expert team is looking at the possibilities of partial utilization of some of the INSAT-4B transponders that were switched off.
“The team is working to restore the services at the earliest,” said S. Satish, director (Publications and Public Relations), ISRO, from Bangalore over phone.
There was a power supply anomaly in one of the satellite’s two solar panels and six Ku Band and six C-Band transponders of the satellite got switched off, he said. He also said ISRO is working out contingency measures so that the transponder leasees- television channels and telecom operators- are not affected.
“ISRO has 209 transponders under its INSAT satellite family and we are looking at the possibility of transferring INSAT-4B clients whose services are affected,” he added.
The three-tonne satellite was launched by Ariane5 rocket from French Guyana in 2007 with a mission life of 12 years. The power problem in INSAT-4B has occured at a time when ISRO is setting its foot in the global satellite manufacturing market.
ISRO’s another satellite INSAT-2D became inoperable in 1997 due to an anomaly in its power systems.
However, the successful operation of the to be launched Hylas communication satellite built by ISRO/EADS Astrium for the Britain- based Avanti Communications is expected to clear any doubts of India’s capability in satellite manufacturing.

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