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INSAT-4B suffers power glitch; operations hit slightly news
09 July 2010

INSAT-4B, the Indian communications satellite launched in 2007 by Arianespace, suffered a ''power supply anomaly'' glitch on the night of 7 July, forcing a shutdown of half of its transponder capacity, national space agency Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) said today.

A team of scientists is studying how to restore services through ''partial utilisation'' of some of the satellite's 24 transponders, ISRO said in an e-mailed statement in Bangalore.

''Due to a power supply anomaly in one of its two solar panels, there has been a partial non-availability of services on India's INSAT-4B communication satellite,'' ISRO said.

A transponder is a communications component that receives a signal and resends it at a different frequency, allowing near-instantaneous transmission between distant points on the earth's surface. Transponders are used for television broadcasting.

INSAT-4B will mainly be used by state-run television broadcaster Doordarshan and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd for direct-to-home services, the space agency's marketing unit's executive director, Sridhar Murthy had said in 2007.

''Doordarshan's services are going on as normal,'' chief engineer R K Jain said in a phone interview to Bloomberg. ''The transponders on which we have our services are working okay. Only a few, which were used for DTH operations, got affected and we have other capacity.''

Billionaire Kalanithi Maran, whose family owns 80 per cent of Sun Direct, was not immediately reachable on his office phone. Malaysia's Astro Group owns the remaining stake in Sun Direct.

India launched its first space rocket in 1963 and its first satellite in 1975. The country's satellite program has launched 21 orbiters, of which 11 are currently in service.

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INSAT-4B suffers power glitch; operations hit slightly