ISRO-built satellite fails in space

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Bangalore, Feb 1: In a major setback to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the communication satellite W2M, built by it has virtually failed in space after suffering a major anomaly affecting the satellite's power subsystem within six weeks of the launch.

"The anomaly is serious. Chances (of revival) are very, very dim. It's very difficult to revive it. We have almost given up hope. I would say the chances of revival is only ten per cent", a senior ISRO official said on condition of anonymity.

The satellite was built on a commercial basis in partnership with EADS-Astrium of Europe, for Eutelsat Communications. Eutelsat Communications earlier announced that the performance of the W2M satellite, launched on Dec 20, 2008, does not comply with the requirements set with the spacecraft's manufacturer, EADS Astrium/Isro Antrix, following the major anomaly affecting the satellite's power subsystem.

The company said it has consequently taken the decision that in the current circumstances W2M would not be integrated into Eutelsat's satellite fleet, adding, currently under the control of Isro, the satellite is undergoing a full technical investigation by Isro and EADS.

Eutelsat Communications Chairman and CEO Giuliano Berretta said "the situation affecting W2M is a serious disappointment for Eutelsat". W2M was successfully launched by European Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana.

The W2M project was undertaken in the context of an accord signed during the visit of the French President,  Jacques Chirac, on February 20, 2006 at New Delhi between Antrix Corporation Ltd., the commercial arm of the India's department of space and EADS Astrium.

ISRO and EADS were to jointly build and deliver the satellite to Eutelsat Communications, which is a global satellite communications provider based in Paris. The W2M satellite, weighing 3,463 kg at lift-off, was the heaviest satellite built by Isro and was capable of operating for over 15 years.

The satellite's solar panels were designed to generate a maximum of about 7,000 watts of power.

OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)

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