India OKs $67.5m deal with Arianespace

India has approved a contract worth up to $67.5 million with Arianespace for launching satellites, according to local, quoted by a Satellite News report.

In June, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) signed an agreement with the European launch provider to orbit the Insat-4G communications satellite for providing navigation, telecommunications, TV broadcasting and broadband services, the Satellite News report said.

The launch is slated for the end of 2008 aboard an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Earlier this year, Arianespace orbited the Insat-4B satellite. Insat-4G will mark the 14th ISRO satellite to use the European launch provider, the report said.

In another development, ISRO officials reportedly are planning a launch window between August 31 and September 8 to orbit Insat-4CR from ISRO's spaceport in Sriharikota, India.

The communications satellite is similar to Insat-4C, which was lost during the unsuccessful July 2006 launch of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F02) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center.

Like its predecessor, Insat-4CR will carry 12 Ku-band transponders to provide TV broadcasting services in Southeast Asia, including direct-to-home television services plus very small aperture terminal applications, video picture transmission and digital satellite newsgathering.