Power supply glitch partially cripples Insat-4B

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Telecast by Sun Direct, DD Direct and regional channels hit.

Our Bureau

Bangalore, July 9

The domestic communications satellite Insat-4B is reported to be partially crippled due to a power supply problem since Thursday morning, affecting at least two DTH players and some 50 channels, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Friday.

Its scientists were trying to save whatever they could of the glitch-hit spacecraft, it said. Half of the satellite or 12 of the 24 transponders on it have switched off due to a `power supply anomaly' on one of the two solar panels. As a result, "There is a partial non-availability of services on Insat-4B," it said.

Sun Direct and Doordarshan's DD Direct, which have been beaming direct to the homes of subscribers using the Ku band on Insat-4B, and a few northern Indian regional channels were affected, a spokesman said.

Hiring transponders

Senior ISRO officials were in meetings through the crisis, trying to trouble-shoot and explore how to accommodate the operators and keep their broadcast services going.

Mr K.R . Sridhara Murthi, Managing Director of Antrix Corporation, ISRO's commercial arm which leases out transponders to users, told Business Line that if Insat-4B could not be fully restored, they would consider hiring transponders on a foreign satellite, as has been done earlier.

The communique said, "On the night of July 7, the satellite experienced a power supply glitch which led to switching off of 50 per cent of the transponder capacity (6 Ku and 6 C-band transponders).

An expert team is studying the possibilities of partial utilisation of some of the transponders that were switched off and restoring the services at the earliest." There are seven DTH operators and Antrix has put Reliance ADAG's DTH service Big TV, for example, on Malaysia's Measat-3. Foreign satellites such as Panamsat, Lockheed Martin's LMI ABS and Singapore's ST1 are hovering over the sub-continent.

Launched in March 2007, the spacecraft is built to last at least 12 years. Sun DTH had hired seven of its 12 Ku-band transponders on it and DD five. ISRO built Insat 4A, 4B and 4CR for the growing DTH users.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 10, 2010)
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