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Indian-built satellite to be launched aboard Ariane on Dec 20


W2M being transferred inside the S5 payload preparation facility, as it moves from the S5C large preparation hall to the S5A fueling and integration hall. Arianespace photo

BANGALORE (PTI): In a major commercial achievement for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), its 'W2M satellite' built for Europe's leading satellite system specialist EADS Astrium is set to be launched from Kourou in French Guyana on December 20.

Weighing 3462 kg at lift-off, W2M is the heaviest spacecraft built by the Indian space agency till date and will be launched onboard an Ariane rocket.

“That has reached Kourou...W2M for Eutelsat Communications,” ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said here.
W2M has been built by Bangalore-headquartered ISRO in 26 months, the agency's spokesperson S Satish said.

“ISRO has been able to meet the stringent time and quality schedule demanded by the customer,” he said.

Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, and EADS Astrium, signed contracts in February 2006 to provide communication satellites for the international market. The first success of the alliance is demonstrated by the award of the W2M satellite contract by Eutelsat, the holding company of Eutelsat S A Group, a leading satellite operator.

Nair said, “One more satellite is being built (Under Antrix/EADS Astrium alliance). By next year, that will also be shipped.”

Satish said W2M, designed for an operational lifetime of 15 years, would carry 32 transponders.

Under the W2M contract, EADS Astrium was prime contractor in charge of overall programme management and built communication payload. Antrix/ISRO built the satellite bus, integrated and tested the spacecraft.

Satish said ISRO would also be in charge of early in-orbit operations. ISRO got a "good rate" as prevailing internationally for its work, officials said.

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