SatCom : Edusat Utilisation Programme
One important aspect of SATCOM applications in the North Eastern States is the Tele-Education Project. ISRO has dedicated to the nation one of its satellites solely for the education sector. It is called the EDUSAT (also GSAT-3) satellite that was launched on September 20, 2004 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh by the Geo-Synchronous launch vehicle GSLV (F01). It is in fact, India's first thematic satellite dedicated exclusively for educational services.
The EDUSAT was configured to meet India’s growing demand for distance education using audio-visual medium and employing Direct-to-home type direct satellite broadcasting with interactive Class-room capabilities. The EDUSAT Utilisation Program was envisioned in a manner as to create state-wise SATCOM networks for the eight North Eastern states disseminating quality education programmes for different levels of the academia. Based on the hub networking topology, the NER EDUSAT network has its hub suitably placed somewhere in the state capital with the remote ends (SITs & ROTs) housed in some identified primary and higher secondary level schools, colleges. The hub has one Studio facility from where content is to be generated by experts and then unicasted or multicasted to the targeted recipients. The EDUSAT has multiple regional beams covering different parts of India - 5 Ku-band transponders with spot beams covering Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western and the North-eastern regions of the country, one Ku-band transponder (National beam) with its footprint covering the Indian mainland region and six Ext. C-band transponders with their footprints covering the entire country. EDUSAT is being implemented in three phases- pilot, semi-operational and operational phases.
Terrestrial hubs are used to link to and from terminals and convey services like virtual classroom. The standard used is called Digital Video Broadcasting, Return Channel via satellite (DVB-RCS). The DVB-RCS is a system that allows two-way communication between the Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) installed at customer's sites via the hub. The DVB-RCS system operates as a Star configuration, thus its central station is called the "Hub." This station implements the forward link via a conventional DVB-S chain (similar to digital TV broadcasting) while the return link is implemented using the DVB-RCS standard. The Hub consists of microwave equipment for the transmission and reception of signals and a control centre for managing network traffic. This station also hosts interfacing equipment supporting a wide range of terrestrial interfaces. An important Hub function is to map the traffic of all remote terminals belonging to each user group.
The Teaching end
Also called as the Expert Node, the Teaching End is the place where the contents (subject/topic wise) are created by experts and delivered in a time-scheduled manner using preinstalled third-party software. A general configuration of the teaching end is shown below:
The Student end
The student end consists of the Receive-only Terminals (ROTs) and the Satellite Interactive terminals (SITs) also called the Return Channel Satellite Terminals (RCSTs). Students/ targeted user group can receive the contents transmitted and even interact with the experts at the teaching end directly (facility available in SITs only) using a preinstalled third-party software.
Status of EDUSAT Network in the NER
ARUNACHAL PRADESH: 1 Hub & Studio at Rajib Gandhi University, Itanagar & 50 Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) at various schools and educational institutes across the state. The network is already operational.
TRIPURA: 1 HUB & Studio at SCERT, Agartala & 50 SITs at various schools and educational institutes across the state. The network is already operational.
MEGHALAYA: 1 HUB & Studio at DERT, Shillong & 50 SITs at various schools and educational institutes across the state. The network is already operational.
NAGALAND: 1 HUB & Studio at Kohima Science College, Kohima & 50 SITs at various schools and educational institutes across the state. The network is going to be made operational soon.
MIZORAM: 1 HUB & Studio at SCERT, Aizawl & 50 SITs at various schools and educational institutes across the state. The network is going to be made operational soon.
ASSAM: 1 HUB & Studio at SIRD extension centre, Kahikuchi, Guwahati and 34 SITs at SIRD extension centres and DIETs across the state. The network is already operational.
SIKKIM: 1 HUB & Studio & 50 SITs across the state.
MANIPUR: 1 HUB & Studio & 50 SITs across the state.