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India, and its near-1000 TV channels, needs more DTH satellite capacity. The nation’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is promising three new satellites will be launched during the first-half of the 2018 financial year (GSAT 11, 17 and 19) according to the Department of Space’s statement to a parliamentary special committee on science.
India’s Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Venkaiah Naidu, is on record as saying that the new broadcasting capacity of 68 transponders will be in addition to the 104 transponders currently in use for DTH transmissions.
However, ISRO is late in fulfilling past promises. ISRO had committed to launching GSAT-11 and GSAT-17 during the tail-end of last year aboard Arianespace rockets, while GSAT-19 should have been launched on an India-built rocket (the GSLV-Mk3/D1) during Q1 this year.
Indeed, India is behind on its general plan to launch 14 new communications satellites, and has only managed to launch 7 such craft (GSAT-10, GSAT-14, GSAT-16, GSAT-6, GSAT-15 and GSAT-18).
ISRO now says that its launch rate will increase from 4-5 launches a year, to nearer 12 (including scientific missions) and thus begin to catch up.