ISLAMABAD, July 4: No performance guarantees were being given by the US company Hughes for shifting the defective HGS3 satellite to 38 E orbital slot of Pakistan as PAKSAT 1, said National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) chairman Air Vice Marshal Azhar Maud, here on Thursday.
Briefing the media after approval of PAKSAT 1 by the federal cabinet earlier on Wednesday, he said only advance payment would be insured against any failure of satellite during relocation manoeuvre.
The media briefing was attended by Science and Technology Minister Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, PTCL chairman Akhtar Bajwa, IT and Telecom division secretary Ashfaque Mehmood and adviser to minister on IT Salman Ansari.
Maud said the upfront cost of the satellite, renamed as HGS3 from Turkish Anatolia 1, would be $4.5 million while the recurring cost of operating the satellite and lease cost of all 34 transponders was round Rs4.6 million.
Giving details of the troubled history of the satellite which Pakistan has decided to buy for saving its allocated orbital slot, he said the satellite was launched in 1996 for Indonesia and later on it developed a power pack problem. The satellite, he added, was leased to Turkey as Anatolia 1 but on termination of the lease, the ownership went back to Hughes.
Maud said the power pack problem of the satellite was persistent and did not allow its batteries to provide energy to the payload during the eclipse period of 88 days on an average of three hours per day between 11.00pm and 02.00am. However, he said, the payload was fully functional and the availability of the satellite transponder was more than 96 per cent despite outages during the eclipse period.
“This problem has caused the cost of the satellite to come down significantly as similar satellites not having this kind of problem are available for about $50 million to $80 million,” he said.
Briefing the media, Dr Atta said retention of the slot was important from commercial and strategic points of view as it would assure retention of a foothold in space. Pakistan, he said, had already lost four out of the five allocated slots due to negligence of the previous governments.
He said the core issues were to occupy orbital slot 38 E and to attain frequency coordination with the concerned regional administrations for securing the maximum number of transponders for Pakistan’s use.