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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 08:50 GMT
India TV in satellite 'milestone'
By Sunil Raman
BBC News, Bangalore

Ariane 5 rocket carrying satellites into space
The rocket is carrying the first satellite in the Insat-4A series
India has launched a three-tonne satellite from French Guiana that promises to revolutionise television services in the country.

The Insat-4A satellite was constructed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

It is carrying 12 Ku band transponders for Direct-to-Home or DTH service and 12 C band transponders that will be used to augment telecom services.

Isro chairman Madhavan Nair says the launch is a "milestone".

"India spreads across 3,000km (1,875 miles) and to reach each and every village, satellite technology is the only possible way," Mr Nair said in a post-launch address.

Mr Nair hailed the spacecraft as the "most advanced, heaviest and powerful satellite" built by Isro so far.

It was carried into space on a European Ariane-5 rocket, which also delivered a satellite for the meteorological agency, Eumetsat.

Fighting sanctions

This is the first satellite in the Insat-4 series.

Although Isro has its own launch vehicle, it does not have the technology to launch three-tonne satellites.

MSG-2 (Eumetsat/Esa)

The organisation had faced US sanctions after India carried out a series of nuclear tests in 1998.

The sanctions have been since removed on all except three organisations attached to Isro, which continue to face the restrictions.

The 12 transponders on Insat-4A have already been booked by Tata-Sky to provide DTH services in India.

Tata-Sky proposes to provide 150 channels to its subscribers. With the launch of Insat-4A the present capacity of transponders provided by Indian satellites will increase to 150.

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