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India's first experimental GEO communications satellite, APPLE (Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment), was launched on the third test flight of the Ariane launch vehicle in June, 1981. For 27 months (until attitude control fuel depletion) the 350-kg Apple successfully served as a testbed for the entire Indian telecommunications space relay infrastructure despite the failure of one solar panel to deploy. APPLE was used in several communication experiments including relay of TV programmes, and radio networking. It provided valuable experience to Indian space scientists in building and operating geostationary communication satellites. The spacecraft bus was cylindrical with a diameter of 1.2 m and a height of 1.2 m. The communications payload consisted of two 6/4 GHz transponders connected to a 0.9 m diameter parabolic antenna.

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