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GSAT-12 to be launched in July second week

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan addresses the media in Bangalore on Wednesday. The former ISRO chairman, Madhavan Nair, is at right.

BANGALORE: On the heels of the successful launch of its communication satellite GSAT-8, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to launch the next communication satellite GSAT-12 in the second week of July.

Announcing this at a news conference here on Wednesday, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said the satellite would be launched from Sriharikota on a PSLV C-17 vehicle.

It would be moved from Bangalore to Sriharikota on Thursday for conducting various pre-launch tests. The assembling of the launch vehicle had also commenced.

GSAT-12, built at a cost of Rs.148 crore, has 12 transponders in an extended C-Band and will help users in the field of tele-medicine, tele-education, social services, etc. The launch vehicle was expected to cost about Rs.100 crore.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said the services of GSAT-8 satellite, launched on May 21, was expected to be available for users by June-end. In-orbit tests of transponders of the satellite would be held for three weeks, from Thursday. The satellite had been put on 55 degree east of geo-station orbit on Wednesday. Users of some of the decommissioned satellites would be moved to this, he said.

Referring to the recommendations made by a committee which looked into the failure of GSLV in December 2010 and another committee that examined the entire GSLV programme, Dr. Radhakrishnan said ISRO had now decided to “put all the focus” on developing indigenous cryogenic engines that powered Mark-II launch vehicles.

He said there were no major problems with respect to the design.

However, discussions had started with Russia regarding finetuning of the engine procured from them.

Special Correspondent reports:

As a fall-out of the controversial S-Band deal, ISRO’s commercial arm — Antrix Corporation — is all set to get a full-time Chairman and Managing Director in a couple of weeks. Dr. Radhakrishnan said the Space Commission had cleared the recommendation of the name made by a three-member committee, comprising himself, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India R. Chidambaram, and Space Commission Member (Finance) Venkatesh Bhat and had been forwarded to the Prime Minister for clearance.

He said Antrix would be strengthened by getting more full-time experts with significant experience. Its performance would be reviewed every year by the Space Commission.

Besides, an ISRO team would monitor and coordinate with it, he noted.

Noted Scientist Roddam Narasimha, who is part of the two-member panel which probed the controversial Antrix-Devas deal, said the committee had submitted its report to the Prime Minister, but refused to divulge any details.

“We have done our duty. Let the Prime Minister take a decision on the report.”


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