India’s communication satellite, GSAT-16, was successfully launched on December 7, 2014 by the European launcher Ariane-5 of Arianespace from French Guiana. Ariane-5 placed GSAT-16 into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), after a flight of about 32.5 minutes duration. It is the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for Isro.
ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka started acquiring the signal from the satellite and the commanding of the satellite was initiated. The MCF monitors and handles all national communication satellites throughout their life and is about 200 km from Bengaluru.
GSAT-16 is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by ISRO so far, 12 in the C band, 12 in the extended C and 24 in the Ku band – cover the entire country and the Andaman & Nicobar islands.
GSAT-16 will be the 11th among GSAT series of Indian communication satellites. The satellite will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations. The satellite is aimed as a replacement for satellite INSAT-3E.
SATELLITE CAPACITY CRUNCH
Currently ISRO have 188 transponders from the INSAT/GSAT fleet. India has leased an additional 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for the use of private television broadcasters. Inadequate satellite capacity has been a frequent complaint of private sector users – mainly broadcasters and VSAT operators.
Once GSAT-16 starts working, total number of ISRO’s transponders would increase to 236 and the issue of capacity crunch should somewhat ease. ISRO is confident that India will have about 400 transponders by 2017, despite the previous target of having 500 transponders by 2012 not having been met.