India’s only space public sector unit, New Space India Limited, will launch a communication satellite dedicated to augment direct-to-home services later this year using a foreign launch service. NSIL, established under the department of space as part of India’s reforms to liberalise the sector, got Rs 700 crore equity from the government.
K Sivan, secretary, DoS said: “This will eventually be paid back. NSILS’s role is to own and sell assets and the first satellite acquired will be GSAT-24 for TataSky’s DTH business. So far, Isro owned all satellites and its services were sold through its Antrix. NSIL will usher in a new era in India’s commercial space activity.” GSAT-24 will be a 4.1 tonne communication satellite with 24 Ku-band transponders for DTH services. “The satellite costs Rs 400 crore and NSIL will launch it through Arianespace in September,” Sivan said.
The PSU is also negotiating to acquire GSAT-20 which will also be launched commercially. “DishTV has held preliminary talks with NSIL for another satellite,”
Sivan added. “With Atmanirbhar Bharat and space reforms, NSIL is expected to carry out capital intensive projects to enable a demand-driven ecosystem. We’re finalising deals for two satellites with DoS,” G Narayanan, CMD, NSIL, said. Sivan said in future NSIL will also buy from the private sector, including startups. Narayanan said: “We’ll source from whoever has the strength and capability.”
While NSIL’s first commercial project will be the PSLV launch later this month, its role is limited to connecting Amazonia-1 of Brazil with Isro. “GSAT-24 and 20 will be completely NSIL’s. Isro will only be a vendor and the satellite will be owned by NSIL,” Sivan said.