It was in the end, a perfect looking launch. That sigh of relief heard from Telesat officials in India could be heard all the way back at headquarters in Ottawa.
Could anyone have doubted that India’s space program would get back on track after last summers loss of the PSLV-C39 mission? After all, the PSLV has been a stable workhorse for India and the failure on the last launch was with the fairing, not the rocket engines.
But after Telesat had lost their other Phase 1 technology demonstration satellite last November when a Russian rocket failed, well you couldn’t blame them for being nervous.
Telesat has a lot riding on this small satellite. Financially it’s not a big burden, but it needs this satellite to demonstrate it will do what Telesat says it can do. With that success could come the financial backing and then they hope, the customers.
In a press release issued after the launch Dan Goldbeg, Telesat’s CEO said “Telesat has a long record of industry firsts that have brought major satellite innovations to market and our LEO constellation will be another breakthrough that transforms global communications. The launch of our Phase 1 satellite is the starting point in making our next generation LEO system a reality and we thank SSTL and ISRO for the success of the mission to date.”
“Telesat is uniquely positioned to deliver the world’s most advanced and capable LEO constellation given our deep technical expertise, strong track record of innovation, senior spectrum rights, and laser-like focus on customer service and support. We look forward to beginning customer trials on Telesat LEO and continuing to collaborate with industrial partners as we work to deploy a state-of-the-art, high capacity network that will deliver transformative, low latency, fiber-like broadband to commercial and government users throughout the world.”
Telesat’s has received approval from both the Canadian and U.S. governments for a spectrum license to operate a 117 fleet of satellites in non-geostationary satellite orbit. Dan Goldberg has said the constellation could be expanded to 290 satellites down the road, but for now, approval has only been given for the initial 117 satellites.
In a press release issued by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) who built Telesat’s LEO-1 satellite, they say “SSTL’s spacecraft operators will complete commissioning and orbit-raising manoeuvres for the satellite from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford. Once the Telesat LEO Phase 1 satellite has reached its final planned orbit, command will be handed over to Telesat for in-orbit operation using the Ka band payload from Telesat’s ground station at Allan Park in Canada.”
Telesat can tick one item, an important one, off their LEO business plan. And now they can move forward to the next item.