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ISRO now eyes taking foreign satellite on rent to meet demand

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BANGALORE (PTI): Faced with transponder capacity crunch, ISRO is exploring the possibilities of taking "on rent" a foreign satellite for a couple of years and acquiring more foreign transponders on lease.

Indian Space Research Organisation presently has 175 transponders in a mix of C, Extended-C, Ku and S bands and has taken on lease 86 and half foreign transponders but faced a huge order book position.

At the beginning of the 11th plan in April 2007, ISRO had 211 transponders and the goal then was to take it about 500 by March 2012 but a combination of unsuccessful missions, premature terminations and some satellites entering the end of their normal life led to it ending up way below the mark.

ISRO sources said the required demand now is about 200 transponders in all and it's scouting to meet that demand by acquiring more foreign transponders for a short period till its own new satellites are launched and become operational.

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said the Indian space agency is also exploring "if we could get a (in-orbit) foreign satellite moved into our (designated, orbital) slots for a short period.

"We have got several orbital slots. We could go up to 320 transponders," he told a press conference.

Sources said ISRO currently has a huge order from users such as DTH broadcasters, VSAT operators and there is also growing demand from applications such as disaster management support.

ISRO officials said the proposed steps to take on lease foreign transponders and possibly taking a foreign satellite on rent are "short-term arrangement" to tide over the crunch, and till India is able to meet the demand through its own transponders.

Parallely, India is also stepping up efforts to put in orbit a greater number of transponders.

Radhakrishnan expects the "techno-commercial" process to acquire foreign transponder capacity to be completed in the next few weeks.

The idea to acquire foreign transponder capacity also stems from the fact that India wants to keep some transponder capacity standby. "Suppose something happens to the satellites or transponders, user should not get affected", he said.

Under the Satcom policy, users (customers in India) can't procure transponders from foreign satellite operators, and it is ISRO that has the mandate to take on the "facilitating role".


ISRO  space  
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