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Business News/ Science / News/  In a first, India to launch GSAT-20 satellite on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket: Details here
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In a first, India to launch GSAT-20 satellite on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket: Details here

GSAT-20 is a high throughput Ka-band satellite, which delivers high-speed broadband internet connectivity and digital video and audio transmission.

This screen grab taken from a SpaceX video shows the Falcon 9 launch of the Korea 425 Mission at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 1, 2023. (AFP)Premium
This screen grab taken from a SpaceX video shows the Falcon 9 launch of the Korea 425 Mission at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 1, 2023. (AFP)

For the first time, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch a communication satellite on a SpaceX rocket. NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the ISRO's commercial arm, announced on Tuesday its plans to launch communication satellite GSAT-20 onboard Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket.

The launch is likely to take place in the second quarter of 2024. The high-capacity satellite aims to meet the broadband communication needs of the country.  "NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) to undertake its 2nd Demand Driven satellite mission “GSAT-20 [GSAT-N2] : Ka-band HTS satellite" during 2nd quarter of 2024…" read the press release issued by the NSIL on Tuesday.

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This will be India's first partnership with a venture led by billionaire Elon Musk who also wants to expand his other businesses in the country. Musk, who is the chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla, is keen to bring his Starlink satellite broadband to India, Reuters reported.

What is GSAT-20

GSAT-20 (renamed as GSAT-N2) is a high throughput Ka-band satellite. Ka-band satellites deliver high-speed broadband internet connectivity and digital video and audio transmission. 

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In the statement, the state-owned NSIL said the bulk of the high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity onboard GSAT-20 satellite has already been secured by Indian service providers. 

“GSAT-20 offers Ka-band HTS capacity with 32 beams having pan-India coverage including in Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands," it said.

"GSAT-20, weighing 4,700 kg, offers HTS capacity of nearly 48Gpbs. The satellite has been specifically designed to meet the demanding service needs of remote/unconnected regions," the statement read.

ALSO READ: ISRO to study black holes; launch of X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite today; here's all you need to know

SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket

The NSIL said it is realising GSAT-20 satellite through the ISRO and will be launched onboard Falcon-9 under a launch service contract between the NSIL and the SpaceX, USA.

Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX “for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond", the Elon Musk's company explained. 

“Falcon 9 is the world’s first orbital class reusable rocket. Reusability allows SpaceX to re-fly the most expensive parts of the rocket, which in turn drives down the cost of space access," it added.

ALSO READ: ‘Yet another successful mission...’: 5 things ISRO chief S Somnath said about XPoSat launch

‘Demand Driven satellite missions’ and GSAT-20

Sharing details of the the “Demand Driven satellite missions", NSIL said, “As part of Space Sector reforms announced by government of India during June 2020, NSIL was mandated to build, launch, own and operate satellites in “Demand-driven mode" for meeting service needs of the user."

On similar lines, the NSIL will be undertaking the GSAT-20 satellite mission during second quarter of 2024. This will "offer cost-effective Ka-Ka band HTS capacity primarily for meeting the Broadband, as well as IFMC (In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity) and cellular backhaul service needs", the company said.

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Published: 03 Jan 2024, 08:08 PM IST
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