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Indian Satellites

Satellites over India
P. SriVatsa
In June 2006 the Master Control Facility in Hassan, India, celebrated 25 years of monitoring and controlling Indian satellites. We at TELE-satellite India took the chance, and visited the place, to get first hand impressions about this first class facility. cal valley. Each satellite has a dedicated antenna pointed towards it. Each satellites sends approximately 1000 parameters every second, these telemetry data include bus voltages, heat temperatures, and informations as distance between Earth and the satellite. All these data are received and processed by sophisticated software built in-house and its output is monitored by the technical personnel. As we enter the monitoring center, it is apparent looking at the computer screen how much detail this data has, even voltages as small as 5 volts are monitored. In most cases this monitoring is a matter of routine, however, in case of an emergency, for example a satellite becomes too cold or abnormal voltages are noticed, the software automatically sets of alerts, in which case the technical personnel starts the recovery process. We also got a chance to see the weather photos taken by Indian Weather satellites, this is exciting as in most cases satellite DXers do not have the required equipment to receive these specialized signals. Our tour ended with a visit to the new library, where every possible book on satellites are available. A view into the control center for Tracking and Telemetry Once the first Indian satellites had begun to be built, it became necessary to constantly monitor and control them. 180 km away from Bangalore, in a place called Hassan, the ideal location was found: it‘s in the midst of a valley, otherwise known for its coffee farms, and there is almost no electro magnetic interference on ground. Another advantage is that it is close to the ISRO headquarters in Bangalore. The first impression is indeed great, since everything about this place is huge, from the buildings to the rows of giant 11 meter and 7 meter white dish antennas, set against the background of a beautiful green tropiOne of the most notable vistors to this center was in 1984 the then late Prime Minister of India, Mrs.Indira Gandhi, who was wellknown for showing interest in making India a modern scientific country. A tree planted by Mrs Indira Gandhi is still growing strong, perhaps reflecting the healthy growth of ISRO. We at TELE-satellite wish MCF all the best on its well deserved 25th anniversary.

Hassan Satellite Ground Station in India, spaciously located in a tropical valley. Note the high elevation angles of dishes Photos Courtesy ISRO

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