NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) launched GSAT-24 in its first "demand-driven" communication satellite mission post space sector reforms, leasing the entire capacity on board to Direct-to-Home (DTH) service provider Tata Play. Built by the Indian Space Research Organisation for NSIL, the satellite was successfully placed into geostationary orbit by the Ariane 5 rocket, operated by French company Arianespace, from Kourou in French Guiana (South America) on Thursday.
GSAT-24 is a 24-Ku band communication satellite weighing 4,180kg with pan-India coverage for meeting DTH application needs.
NSIL, incorporated in March 2019, is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under the Department of Space (DOS) and is the commercial arm of ISRO.
As part of "space reforms" announced by the Government in June 2020, NSIL was mandated to undertake operational satellite missions on a "demand-driven" model, wherein it has the responsibility to build, launch, own & operate satellites, and provide services to its committed customer.
The entire satellite capacity onboard GSAT-24 will be leased to its committed customer Tata Play, the DTH business of Tata Group, for meeting their DTH application needs.
The Ariane 5 has successfully placed two satellites into geostationary orbit: MEASAT-3d for the Malaysian operator MEASAT, and GSAT-24, Arianespace said after launching them on-board Ariane-V VA257 flight from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport in Kourou.
GSAT-24 is configured on ISRO's proven I-3k Bus with a mission life of 15 years.
"'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 beforehand", 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.