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03/01/24 | 9:58 pm

India to use SpaceX rocket to launch communications satellite

This strategic alliance aims to bolster India's broadband communication infrastructure, particularly targeting remote and unconnected regions across the country.

State-run NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), announced on Tuesday its ambitious plan to deploy the satellite, weighing a substantial 4,700 kg. This weight surpasses the current launching capacity of 4,000 kg maintained by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Scheduled for liftoff in the second quarter of this year, the satellite initiative signifies Musk's broader aspirations in India. Apart from SpaceX's involvement, Musk's electric vehicle giant, Tesla (TSLA.O), is exploring investment avenues to establish a manufacturing unit in India, a move that has garnered mixed reactions within the domestic industry.

NSIL's forthcoming launch, named GSAT-20 (formerly GSAT-N2), emphasizes its commitment to address India's escalating demand for broadband connectivity. Crafted as a high-throughput Ka-band satellite, GSAT-20 is meticulously designed to cater to the intricate service requirements of remote and previously unconnected regions, as highlighted by NSIL.

Interestingly, the collaboration with SpaceX marks a departure from NSIL's previous affiliations, having previously engaged with Arianespace for similar ventures. Emphasizing the satellite's significance, NSIL confirmed that a majority of GSAT-20's high-throughput capacity has already been earmarked by Indian service providers. These allocations span diverse sectors, encompassing broadband services, in-flight connectivity, and maritime communication.

In a statement, NSIL highlighted the crucial role expected of GSAT-20, emphasizing its potential to bridge connectivity gaps and act as a catalyst for socio-economic development. Through this collaborative space mission with SpaceX, India aims to leverage the satellite's capabilities to improve connectivity, especially in remote and underserved areas, promoting inclusive growth and digital empowerment.

– By Ranu Jain

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