India’s NSIL plans satellite launch to support remote areas

India’s NSIL plans satellite launch to support remote areas

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), has announced plans for what it calls its second demand-driven satellite mission.

NSIL, a government of India company under the Department of Space and the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), says the launch of GSAT-20, a Ka-band high throughput satellite (HTS), will take place in the second quarter of 2024.

The main function of the satellite, according to NSIL, will be meeting the broadband communication needs of the nation, in particular the demanding service needs of remote or unconnected regions.

Although the GSAT-20 satellite mission aims to offer cost-effective Ka-band HTS capacity primarily for meeting broadband needs, it will also meet some in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) and cellular backhaul service needs. NSIL says the bulk of the HTS capacity on board the satellite has already been secured by Indian service providers. 

The GSAT-20 weighs 4700 kg and offers HTS capacity of nearly 48Gpbs. Its Ka-band HTS capacity is offered via 32 beams delivering pan-India coverage. The satellite will be launched on board Falcon-9 under a launch service contract between NSIL and American company SpaceX.

The background to this launch is the space sector reforms announced by the government in 2020, through which NSIL was mandated to build, launch, own and operate satellites in so-called demand-driven mode for meeting the service needs of users.

The first demand-driven satellite mission, GSAT-24, took place in June 2022 and was fully funded by NSIL. The capacity on board this satellite was fully secured by TataPlay, a satellite television service. 

At present, NSIL owns and operates 11 communication satellites in orbit.


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