Chennai/ Bangalore: India will get rid of another dependency on foreign-supplied technological services when it launches a dedicated satellite next year that will provide satellite phone, or Satphone, services. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said it will launch a satellite carrying a large S-band transponder next year, which will allow the country to provide its own satellite phones services.
''We are in the process of building a high-beam antenna which will be deployed on board a satellite for providing satellite phone (Satphone) services using S-band transponder. We can connect handheld devices when it is launched in a year or so,'' former Indian space agency chairman, G Madhavan Nair, informed media on the sidelines of the India Semiconductor Association's (ISA's) Vision Summit here on Monday.
Nair said that ISRO had already designed the antenna. Once launched, India will become a major player as a provider of satellite phone services, and domestically, it would also help bring down prices of satellite phone services.
''Presently, some foreign satellites are being used for satphone services in the country. Development work is on to synthesize the antenna. It will be deployed in one of the communication satellites with S-band transponder,'' Nair added.
On being queried about the weaponisation of the space programme, Nair said effective measures were being taken to protect the country's space assets. China has tested anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.
''Though we have to ensure the security of our satellites, our declared policy is to use the space assets for peaceful purposes. I don't think that the government has changed its policy,'' Nair added.