After changes to the space industry, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) launched GSAT-24 successfully on Thursday, licensing the entire satellite’s capacity to Tata Play, a Direct-to-Home (DTH) service provider. The first “demand-driven” communication satellite mission for NSIL was this one.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) created GSAT-24 for NSIL, a 4180 kg 24-Ku band communication satellite with pan-India coverage.
“Today, 23rd June 2022 @ 03.20 Hrs IST, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a CPSE under Department of Space, successfully undertook the launch of GSAT-24 communication satellite on-board Ariane-V (VA257 flight) from Kourou, French Guiana (South America),” NSIL, the commercial arm of Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO, said.
Ariane-V (flight VA257), operated by the French company Arianespace, also carried Measat-3d, a Malaysian communication satellite.
“Today’s successful mission of GSAT-24 is a major step forward for NSIL in commercially meeting the DTH communication needs of the country using indigenously built satellite solutions from ISRO,” said Secretary in the Department of Space and ISRO Chairman, Dr S Somanath.
As part of the “space reforms” promised by the government in June 2020, NSIL, which was established in March 2019, was tasked to execute operational satellite missions on a “demand-driven” paradigm. In accordance with this paradigm, NSIL is in charge of developing, constructing, launching, owning, and running satellites as well as offering services to its loyal client.
The whole satellite capacity on board GSAT-24 will be leased to meet the requirements of its loyal customer Tata Play, the DTH division of the Tata Group.
GSAT-24 is set up on ISRO’s tried-and-true I-3k Bus, which has a 15-year mission life.
“Demand-driven’ mode basically means when satellite is launched, one will know who the end customers are going to be and what’s the kind of utilisation and commitment so that you have very effective utilisation of this satellite capacity once it goes into orbit,” an NSIL official explained.
“Earlier, the mode was more supply driven, with capacity being leased after the launch with largely no firm commitment by customers before hand,” the official noted.
“The entire mission is fully funded by NSIL — satellite, launch, launch campaign, insurance, transportation, in-orbit maintenance and support. Once the satellite is up in orbit, this will be fully owned and operated by NSIL,” NSIL Chairman and Managing Director Radhakrishnan Durairaj told PTI.
“So, we will be the satellite operator for this particular satellite,” he said.
After around 40 minutes of flight, GSAT-24 was successfully placed into its intended Geo-Synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), with Perigee: 250 km and Apogee: 35825 km.
After GSAT-24 was separated, it was put under the management of ISRO’s Master Management Facility in Hassan, Karnataka. NSIL reports that the spacecraft looks to be in good health based on the initial data received.
With the successful launch of GSAT-24, NSIL will own and operate 11 communication satellites in orbit, which, in NSIL’s opinion, will mostly meet the country’s communication needs.