APPLE or Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment satellite, which was launched by Indian Space Research Organization on July 19, became functional on July 22, 1981. The launch was a major achievement in India’s space program history. The experimental communications satellite had a C-Band transponder and was launched by Ariane, which was a launch vehicle of the European Space Agency from Center Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana.
The main highlights of APPLE were:
• It was India’s first three-axis stabilised experimental geostationary communication satellite.
• It was positioned at the longitude at 102nd meridian east.
• The satellite was designed and developed at the ISRO Centre in Bangalore. The Centre looked after the structure, TTC, power, thermal control and sensor system.
• After ISRO had tested it, the satellite was sent to France for the final tests, which were conducted in Toulouse and Kourou.
• After the test, it was docked with the Ariane launcher and the mission control was done from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) in Andhra Pradesh.
• It was used for experimentation in TV and radio broadcasting.
• The launch was a moment of pride for India and to commemorate it; a stamp was issued on its first anniversary by the Indian Postal Services.
• On September 19, 1983, the programme was deactivated.
Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala