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India To Launch Its Heaviest Satellite From Kourou

Illustration of INSAT 4A

Bangalore, India (AFP) Dec 19, 2005
India's heaviest satellite, meant for communications and broadcasting, is slated to be launched from Kourou in French Guiana later this week, a space agency official announced Monday.

B.R. Guruprasad, spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation - the country's premier space agency - said the 3,080 kilogramme (6,776-pound) INSAT-4A, to be launched on Thursday, will carry 12 transponders.

"This satellite will meet the requirements for direct-to-home television and communication services. It is the heaviest satellite so far," Guruprasad said in the southern city of Bangalore, India's space research centre.

"Our master control facility is in readiness to take control of the satellite soon after Ariane-5 places it in the orbit," he said.

The launch window for the Ariane-5 G, carrying INSAT-4A and a European meteorological satellite, is scheduled between 2230 GMT and 2300 GMT.

In May, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carried a remote sensing satellite whose detailed imaging aims to put every Indian household on the map and another for South Asian ham operators that can be used during natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

It was the second since September 2004 when India launched Edusat, a distance-learning satellite to allow teachers to broadcast primary and secondary classes to remote regions via television.

India has the world's biggest civilian cluster of remote sensing satellites.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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ESA Signs Herschel And Planck Launch Contract
Paris, France (ESA) Dec 15, 2005
The European Space Agency and Arianespace signed a contract yesterday for the provision of an Ariane 5 ECA launcher for the Herschel and Planck spacecraft.

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