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INSAT-4B successfully launched today

The launch marks the addition of another satellite to the Indian space agency, which owns the largest fleet of 15 satellites in the Asia-Pacific.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Bangalore
UPDATED ON MAR 12, 2007 02:24 PM IST

India's communication satellite INSAT-4B was launched early on Monday on board the European Ariane-5 from Kourou in French Guyana and placed successfully in geo-synchronous transfer orbit.

A top Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said the space agency's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka picked up the satellite's first signals 30 minutes after it was lifted-off from the Arianespace launch facility at 03:33 IST with co-passenger Skynet-5A of EADS Astrium.

"The 3,025 kg satellite is orbiting in 3-axis stabilised mode, with a perigee (nearest point to earth) of 243 km and an apogee (farthest point to earth) of 35,876 km at an inclination of 4.52 degree to the equator. The orbital period is about 10 hours 34 minutes," the official said in Bangalore.

With 12 high-power Ku-band transponders and 12 C-band transponders, INSAT-4B is intended to augment the Indian satellites (INSAT) capacity for Direct-To-Home (DTH) television and communication services.

"The initial checks have indicated the satellite is in normal health. Space scientists at the MCF, about 200 km from Bangalore, issued commands to make the satellite face the earth. The gyros on board were also caliberated," the official said.

Even as the MCF took control of the satellite to track and monitor remotely, experts are utilising Inmarsat organisation's telemetry, tracking and command ground stations at Beijing (China), Fucino (Italy) and Lake (Cowichan) Canada, besides the state-owned agency's network station (Istrac) at Biak in Indonesia for initial operations.

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