GSAT-16 launch to ease ISRO's capacity crunch a bit

GSLV Mark III during a trial assembly using dummy stages carried out in 2012.

GSLV Mark III during a trial assembly using dummy stages carried out in 2012.  

European vehicle Ariane5 to put communication satellite in orbit from Kourou on Friday.

GSAT-16, the communications satellite being put in orbit for ISRO from French Guiana in the wee hours of Friday, December 5, will significantly improve the national space capacity with 48 transponders.

The addition is important as GSAT-16 comes up 11 months after the last Indian communication satellite; GSAT-14 was flown in January this year. In fact, this launch was advanced by about six months to meet user needs, ISRO Chairman, K.Radhakrishnan, noted ahead of the launch.

This is also the highest number of transponders packed into an Indian spacecraft so far, compared to 30-36 transponders in earlier ones of comparable 3-tonne size.

He told The Hindu on Wednesday, "Currently we have 188 transponders [from the INSAT/GSAT fleet]. With the 95 leased transponders the requirements are met. The new satellite will mean a major increase.”

ISRO 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 the new spacecraft starts working in the coming weeks, the issue of capacity crunch should somewhat ease as it reaches a total of 331 transponders, Dr. Radhakrishnan agreed.

With the next one, a similar GSAT-15, due to go in orbit in October next year, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, "Now we are not talking about very big [transponder] gaps. That phase has gone."

"For [further] requirement we have registered the foreign vendors whom we will be putting in touch with users. In case they not getting here will get them with foreign operators back to back arrangement pressure on capacity

"Of course we must also take care of it when older satellites get to the end of their lives. INSAT-3A, for example, is expected to come to an end in the next financial year. 3C may complete life in 2016-17. So we are replacing satellites on the one side, increasing the number on the other. As a third strategy, we have to put satellites with new capability, such as the GSAT-11."

The heavy, 4-to-6-tonne new class of advanced communication satellite, GSAT-11, is currently slated for 2016-17 and will create 32 spot beams.

About GSAT-16:


December 5, 2:08 a.m. (IST)


3181 kg


24 C-band, 12 Ku and 12 extended C band


European Ariane VA 221 from Kourou, Fr. Guiana

Orbital slot

55 degrees East [with GSAt-8, IRNSS-1A & 1B)


12 years


Rs. 860 crore for assembly, launch fee & insurance

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:54:42 PM |

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