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ISRO makes USD 40 mn profit out of W2M satellite
[December 19, 2008]

ISRO makes USD 40 mn profit out of W2M satellite

Bangalore, Dec 19, 2008 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) --
India's space programme is all set to achieve a major milestone when European space consortium Arianespace launches over the weekend the W2M satellite built by ISRO for a foreign customer for the first time fetching it USD 40 million profit.

Building W2M for satellite operator Eutelsat under the ISRO-EADS Astrium alliance has signalled the Bangalore- headquartered space agency's foray into the satellite-manufacturing market.

While W2M was built under a USD 80 million (Rs 400 crore) contract by ISRO, officials said it was a good deal for the space agency which made a profit of USD 40 million (Rs 200 crore) in this venture.

"ISRO builds such spacecraft without payloads for less than Rs 200 crore. That way we made a good profit", an ISRO official said.

"It (W2M) is comparable to INSAT-4 series. For the first time, we have built a satellite for a foreign customer. So, that's why the launch is important for us", ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair told PTI.

Nair would be at the Europe's spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana when the W2M spacecraft is launched, along with HOT BIRD satellite built by EADS Astrium, Europe's leading satellite system specialist, by an Ariane rocket early Sunday Indian time.

ISRO spokesperson S Satish said "weighing 3,462 kg at lift-off, W2M is the heaviest spacecraft built by the Indian space agency till date. It was built in 26 months".

Designed for an operational lifetime of 15 years, W2M carries 32 transponders. It will provide both television and radio broadcasting services for Eutelsat. ISRO would also be in-charge of early in-orbit operations of W2M, Satish said. ISRO built W2M under contracts signed between its marketing arm Antrix and EADS Astrium in February 2006 to provide communication satellites for the international market.

Under the W2M contract, EADS Astrium was the prime contractor in charge of overall programme management and built communication payload. Antrix/ISRO built the satellite bus, integrated and tested the spacecraft.

Nair said ISRO is building another satellite Hylas under the ISRO-EADS Astrium alliance.
Officials said the communication satellite Hylas (Highly Adaptable Satellite) is a hybrid Ka Band/Ku Band satellite with European coverage.

The satellite would be used mainly to provide broadband internet access and to distribute and broadcast High Definition Television (HDTV).

ISRO is building it for the UK's satellite operator Avanti Screenmedia Group plc.
Satish said Hylas is expected to be shipped in March or April.

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