India's Pioneering Move: SpaceX's Falcon-9 to Propel GSAT-20 Satellite Launch

In a groundbreaking shift, India's Department of Space and ISRO opt for SpaceX's Falcon-9 for launching the GSAT-20 satellite, showcasing a paradigm shift in satellite launch partnerships. GSAT-20, a heavyweight with broadband capabilities, signifies India's pursuit of innovative solutions for remote connectivity.
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In a historic move, India's Department of Space and ISRO will launch its next-gen heavy communications satellite, GSAT-20, using SpaceX's Falcon-9 rocket. This marks a departure from the reliance on Arianespace, highlighting India's current lack of a rocket capable of lifting large communication satellites.

The deal with SpaceX, facilitated by New Space India Limited (NSIL), underscores India's need for alternatives in satellite launch capabilities. GSAT-20, weighing 4700 kg, offers high-throughput capacity of nearly 48 Gbps and is designed to serve remote and unconnected regions. The satellite's Ka-Ka band coverage spans Pan-India, including Andaman & Nicobar, Jammu & Kashmir, and Lakshadweep islands.

NSIL Chairman Dr. Radhakrishnan Durairaj emphasizes that the move reflects the positive impact of government-led reforms. The satellite will be renamed GSAT-N2 and is expected to provide broadband internet access, competing with emerging players like OneWeb and Starlink. Reliance Jiospace is also actively entering the space-based internet service market.

India's reliance on Arianespace has been robust historically, launching 23 heavy-duty communication satellites on their rockets. However, the retirement of Arianespace's Ariane-5 and delays with the Ariane-6 have necessitated a shift in strategy.

While India's heaviest rocket, the Launch Vehicle Mark 3, can only lift 4000 kg satellites, ISRO Chief S. Somanath stresses the urgency of developing the Next Generation Launch Vehicle capable of carrying up to 10,000 kg. This strategic move aims to enhance India's launch capability to meet future demands while remaining cost-competitive.


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