Early on Thursday morning, the most advanced Indian telecommunications satellite yet, the INSAT-4A, was launched from Kourou in French Guyana.
If you are wondering what that means, read on:
Just what is the INSAT-4A?
It is the first satellite of the INSAT-4 series, and India's most advanced satellite yet. It is designed for a lifespan of 12 years.
The INSAT -- established in 1983 -- is one of the Asia Pacific region's largest domestic communication satellite systems.
Before the 4A, India had eight satellites in orbit the INSAT-2E, the INSAT-3A, the INSAT-3B, the INSAT-3C, the INSAT-3E, Kalpana-1, GSAT-2 and EDUSAT.
The eight satellites have 150 transponders -- electronic equipment that receive signals from earth, convert them to a new frequency, amplify them and resend them back to earth.
The INSAT satellites are also equipped with meteorological equipment.
How much did making the INSAT 4-A cost?
Rs 3 billion (Rs 300 crores). And, the launch cost another Rs 2.25 billion (225 crores). The satellite was launched by Arianespace, a European commercial launch services provider.
How will the INSAT-4A help?
The heaviest satellite in the INSAT bouquet weighing 3,080 kg at launch-time will add another 24 transponders to the system.
It will also give Direct To Home cable television services a shot in the arm.
In plain English, it means the cable guy will face competition, because anyone with a DTH dish will be able to receive signals from the INSAT-4A all over India and watch cable channels that the satellite is beaming back to earth.
What channels will the INSAT-4A beam?Tata Sky a Tata and Star joint venture -- has leased the 4A's 12 KU band transponders from the Indian Space Research Organisation. One KU band transponder can beam about 12 channels.