INSAT-2E Completed 12 year Operational life, TV Channels Need to be Shift another Satellite
India’s INSAT-2E satellite has reached the end of its 12 year orbital lifespan, and both regional and national broadcasters are scrambling for transponder space on alternative payloads, according to Financial Express.
After DTH operators, now broadcasters face spectrum crunch and lack of Indian satellites. With its 12-year life having ended four days ago, there is panic among three-dozen regional and national broadcasters hosted on Indian Space Research Organisation satellite INSAT-2E.
Experts said if all the channels currently hosted on INSAT-2E do not find transponder space in next couple of days they will not be available to the viewers specially those residing in the north-east and southern states.
The channels that are getting affected include 11 channels from Raj TV, 10 channels of Star India's southern channel packages including Asianet and Star Vijay bouquets, 6 channels of NE TV group (beaming Assamese channels), TV 9, Aakash Bangla, DD National, UTV Bloomberg among others.
“We are talking to Asiasat 7 and others to shift our channels from INSAT-2E. But there is panic as Isro will leave control of INSAT-2E next week,” said the CEO of a leading teleport operating firm. Isro officials did not comment on the matter.
FE was first to report in May that squeezed by the spectrum crunch and the falling reliability of INSAT satellites, India’s DTH operators were migrating to foreign satellites.
Since then, the matter has become more serious for the broadcasters themselves who use C-band transmission. Sensing business opportunity, a host of foreign satellites over India are re-arranging their capacity to service Indian operators, sources said.
These include satellites like ABS-1, Eutelsat, Thiacom, Intelsat, Measat, Asiasat, and SES-7. However, while the strict regulations mandate all domestic operators to seek Isro’s clearance before migrating to a foreign satellite, sources said it is Isro itself which is turing a blind eye to the entry of foreign satellites including those from China to services the needs of Indian broadcasters and DTH operators.
But Isro is not new to glitches and failure of satellite, especially those required for broadcasting and DTH services. INSAT-4C suffered a launch failure in 2006. Its replacement satellite INSAT-4CR suffered a partial launch failure in September 2007.
While eventually the satellite was delivered to its geostationary orbit, mission life ofthe satellite decreased by five years as the thrusters had to burn extra fuel to restore the satellite to its correct orbit.
Consequently, Isro had no option but to offer the major user Bharti Airtel to start using the SES-7 satellite for its DTH services. The maiden flight of GSLV MKII failed (25-April 2010) during the launch of the GSAT-4 satellite. On July 7, 2010, Isro reported a glitch in the operation of INSAT 4B located at 93.5E which was used to serve DD-Direct and Sun TV DTH platforms in addition to other services including VSATs. “Power was not flowing from one of the solar panels which required half of the payload to be switched off. The satellite remains in a precarious position,” said a technical head of a leading DTH firm