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Indian National Satellite System

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Title: Indian National Satellite System  
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Subject: List of Indian satellites, Satellite Instructional Television Experiment, NASA Astronaut Group 8, Indian Space Research Organisation, Makkal TV
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Indian National Satellite System


INSAT or the Indian National Satellite System is a series of multipurpose ISRO to satisfy the telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, and search and rescue operations. Commissioned in 1983, INSAT is the largest domestic communication system in the Asia Pacific Region. It is a joint venture of the Department of Space, Department of Telecommunications, India Meteorological Department, All India Radio and Doordarshan. The overall coordination and management of INSAT system rests with the Secretary-level INSAT Coordination Committee.

INSAT satellites provide transponders in various bands (C, S, Extended C and Ku) to serve the television and communication needs of India. Some of the satellites also have the Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR), CCD cameras for metrological imaging. The satellites also incorporate transponder(s) for receiving distress alert signals for search and rescue missions in the South Asian and Indian Ocean Region, as ISRO is a member of the Cospas-Sarsat programme.

INSAT system

The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system was commissioned with the launch of INSAT-1B in August 1983 (INSAT-1A, the first satellite was launched in April 1982 but could not fulfil the mission). INSAT system ushered in a revolution in India’s television and radio broadcasting, telecommunications and meteorological sectors. It enabled the rapid expansion of TV and modern telecommunication facilities to even the remote areas and off-shore islands. Together, the system provides transponders in C, Extended C and Ku bands for a variety of communication services. Some of the INSATs also carry instruments for meteorological observation and data relay for providing meteorological services. KALPANA-1 is an exclusive meteorological satellite. The satellites are monitored and controlled by Master Control Facilities that exist in Hassan and Bhopal.

Satellites in service

Of the 24 satellites launched in the course of the INSAT program, 10 are still in operation.[1]


It is the last of the five satellites in INSAT-2 series{Prateek }. It carries seventeen C-band and lower extended C-band transponders providing zonal and global coverage with an Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) of 36 dBW. It also carries a Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) with imaging capacity in the visible (0.55-0.75 µm), thermal infrared (10.5-12.5 µm) and water vapour (5.7-7.1 µm) channels and provides 2x2 km, 8x8 km and 8x8 km ground resolution respectively. In addition to the above two payloads it has with it a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera providing 1x1 km ground resolution in the Visible (0.63-0.69 µm), Near Infrared (0.77-0.86 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (1.55-1.70 µm) bands.[2]


The multipurpose satellite, INSAT-3A, was launched by Ariane in April 2003. It is located at 93.5 degree East longitude. The payloads on INSAT-3A are as follows:

  • 12 Normal C-band transponders (9 channels provide expanded coverage from Middle East to South East Asia with an EIRP of 38 dBW, 3 channels provide India coverage with an EIRP of 36 dBW and 6 Extended C-band transponders provide India coverage with an EIRP of 36 dBW).
  • 6 Ku band transponders provide India coverage with EIRP of 48 dBW.
  • Very High Resolution Radiometer(VHRR) with imaging capacity in the visible (0.55-0.75 µm), thred (10.5-12.5 µm) and water vapour (5.7-7.1 µm) channels, provide 2x2 km, 8x8 km and 8x8 km ground resolutions respectively.
  • A CCD camera provides 1x1 km ground resolution, in the visible (0.63-0.69 µm), near infrared (0.77-0.86 µm) and shortwave infrared (1.55-1.70 µm) bands.
  • A Data Relay Transponder (DRT) having global receive coverage with a 400 MHz uplink and 4500 MHz downlink for relay of meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic data from unattended land and ocean-based automatic data collection-cum-transmission platforms.
  • A Satellite Aided Search and Rescue (SAS&R) SARP payload having global receive coverage with 406 MHz uplink and 4500 MHz downlink with India coverage, for relay of signals from distress beacons in sea, air or land.[3] See also Cospas-Sarsat.


Launched in January 2002, INSAT-3C is positioned at 74 degree East longitude. INSAT-3C payloads include 24 Normal C-band transponders providing an EIRP of 37 dBW, six Extended C-band transponders with EIRP of 37 dBW, two S-band transponders to provide BSS services with 42 dBW EIRP and an MSS payload similar to that on INSAT-3B. All the transponders provide coverage over India.[4]


Launched in July 2013, INSAT-3D is positioned at 82 Degree East longitude. INSAT-3D payloads include Imager, Sounder, Data Relay Transponder and Search & Rescue Transponder. All the transponders provide coverage over large part of the Indian Ocean region covering India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania for rendering distress alert services.[5]


Launched in September 2003, INSAT-3E is positioned at 55 degree East longitude and carries 24 Normal C-band transponders provide an edge of coverage EIRP of 37 dBW over India and 12 Extended C-band transponders provide an edge of coverage EIRP of 38 dBW over India.[6] The satellite has been decommissioned and gone out of service from April 2014.[7] GSAT-16 will replace this sattellite.


KALPANA-1 is an exclusive meteorological satellite launched by PSLV in September 2002. It carries Very High Resolution Radiometer and DRT payloads to provide meteorological services. It is located at 74 degree East longitude. Its first name was METSAT. It was later renamed as KALPANA-1 to commemorate Kalpana Chawla.


Launched by the second flight of GSLV in May 2003, GSAT-2 is located at 48 degree East longitude and carries four Normal C-band transponders to provide 36 dBW EIRP with India coverage, two Ku band transponders with 42 dBW EIRP over India and an MSS payload similar to those on INSAT-3B and INSAT-3C.


Configured for audio-visual medium employing digital interactive classroom lessons and multimedia content, EDUSAT was launched by GSLV in September 2004. Its transponders and their ground coverage are specially configured to cater to the educational requirements. The satellite carries a Ku band transponder covering the Indian mainland region with 50 dBW EIRP, five Ku band spot beam transponders for South, West, Central, North and North East regional coverage with 55 dBW EIRP and six Extended C-band transponders with India coverage with 37 dBW EIRP. EDUSAT is positioned at 74 degree East longitude and is collocated with KALPANA-1 and INSAT-3

INSAT-4 Series


Launched in December 2005 by the European Ariane launch vehicle, INSAT-4A is positioned at 83 degree East longitude along with INSAT-2E and INSAT-3B. It carries 12 Ku band 36 MHz bandwidth transponders employing 140 W TWTAs to provide an EIRP of 52 dBW at the edge of coverage polygon with footprint covering Indian main land and 12 C-band 36 MHz bandwidth transponders provide an EIRP of 39 dBW at the edge of coverage with expanded radiation patterns encompassing Indian geographical boundary, area beyond India in southeast and northwest regions.[8] Tata Sky, a joint venture between the TATA Group and STAR uses INSAT-4A for distributing their DTH service.


It was launched in March 2007 by the European Ariane launch vehicle. Configured with payloads identical to that of INSAT-4A, INSAT-4B carries 12 Ku band and 12 C-band transponders to provide EIRP of 52 dBW and 39 dBW respectively. Two Tx/Rx dual grid offset fed shaped beam reflectors of 2.2 m diameter for Ku band and 2 m diameter for C-band are used. INSAT-4B augments the high power transponder capacity over India in Ku band and over a wider region in C-band. It is co-located with INSAT-3A at 93.5 degree E longitude.[9]

The national space agency DD Direct Plus. 12 transponders in the C band are for TV, radio and telecommunication purposes

Glitch in INSAT 4B

On July 7, 2010, ISRO has reported a glitch in the operation of INSAT 4B. Power was not flowing from one of the solar panels to the satellite bus from July 7 night, which led to switching off 50 per cent of the transponders on board the satellite. ISRO engineers said the glitch could have developed because a relay that transferred power from the solar panel to the satellite bus could have “misbehaved” or the wires connecting the panel to the satellite could have snapped.[10]

China-Stuxnet Connection

American cyber warfare expert Jeffrey Carr, who specialises in investigations of cyber attacks against government, mentioned in his interview with The Times of India, that the reason for this power glitch may have been an infection by the sophisticated Stuxnet worm.[11] He attributed the development of Stuxnet worm most likely to Government of China which had the necessary sophistication to develop the bug and would gain the maximum by failure of Indian satellite. He also pointed out that Stuxnet was discovered just a month before the Indian satellite was hit by the power glitch, the reason for which still remains unknown. ISRO uses the same Siemens software that was targeted by Stuxnet.


INSAT-4CR was launched on 2 September 2007 by GSLV-F04.[12] It is a replacement satellite of INSAT-4C which was lost when GSLV-F02 failed and had to be destroyed on its course. It carries 12 Ku band 36 MHz bandwidth transponders employing 140 W TWTAs to provide an Effective Isotropic Radiated Power of 51.5 dBW at Edge of Coverage with footprint covering Indian mainland. It also incorporates a Ku band Beacon as an aid to tracking the satellite.

On 8 September 2007 ISRO reported the satellite had reached a near geosynchronous orbit, and would be stabilized in its intended orbital position of 74 degrees E longitude by 15 September.[13] The satellite is designed for a mission life in of ten years. There were reports that the mission life of the satellite had decreased by five years as the thrusters had to burn this much fuel to restore the satellite to its correct orbit. However, the ISRO later refuted this claim dismissing it as false.[14]


GSAT-8, India’s advanced communication satellite, is a high power communication satellite being inducted in the INSAT system. Weighing about 3100 kg at lift-off, GSAT-8 is configured to carry 24 high power transponders in Ku-band and a two-channel GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands.


GSAT-12 is configured to carry 12 Extended C-band transponders to meet the country's growing demand for transponders in a short turn-around-time. The 12 Extended C-band transponders of GSAT-12 will augment the capacity in the INSAT system for various communication services like Tele-education, Telemedicine and for Village Resource Centres (VRC). It weighs about 1410 kg at lift-off.


GSAT-10 is an Indian communication satellite which was launched by Ariane-5ECA carrier rocket in 2012. It will field C and Ku band transponders, and includes a navigation payload to augment GAGAN capacity


GSAT-16 is the 11th Indian communication satellite meant to increase the number of transponders that in turn enhance the satellite based telecommunication, television, VSAT services in India.GSAT-16 was launched on 6 December 2014 from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, by an Ariane 5 rocket.

See also


  1. ^ GSAT-F06
  2. ^ ISRO page of INSAT-2E
  3. ^ ISRO page of INSAT-3A
  4. ^ ISRO page of INSAT-3C
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ ISRO page of INSAT-3E
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ ISRO page of INSAT-4A
  9. ^ ISRO page of INSAT-4B
  10. ^ "ISRO reports a glitch in the operation of INSAT 4B". Chennai, India: Hindu. 10 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Parashar, Sachin (11 October 2010). "China hitting India via Net worm?". The Times Of India. 
  12. ^ "INSAT-4CR successfully placed in orbit". Times of India. 2 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "INSAT-4CR placed in near geo-synchronous orbit". Press Trust of India. 
  14. ^ "ISRO refutes INSAT-4CR `disappearance' story". Hindustan Times. 
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