NSIL is preparing to launch GSAT-20, its second satellite, after the demand-driven launch of GSAT-24 last year was a resounding success. A significant milestone was reached when Tata Play, a Direct-to-Home broadcaster, successfully reserved the entire capacity of GSAT-24 with the assistance of NSIL SpaceX.

ISRO and SpaceX are collaborating for the first time to launch the GSAT-20, a large communication satellite. The satellite will be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket, representing a novel partnership between the Indian space agency and the commercial space business. The launch is anticipated to occur approximately at the midpoint of the year.

Owing to its considerable mass of around 4,700 kg, GSAT-20 exceeds the payload capacity of ISRO’s most powerful rocket, LVM-3. Its capabilities empower telecom companies to provide Internet access at blazing speeds. Historically, India has placed its trust in Arianespace, a European launch provider, to handle the launch of satellites that exceed a mass of 4,000 kg. As a result, Arianespace ceased production of the Ariane-5 heavy-lift rocket in July of last year; the Ariane-6, which will replace it, has not yet been announced.

The Falcon-9, a reusable rocket, can carry more than twice that weight, surpassing 8,300 kg, to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). It has conducted 285 trips to different space destinations. Through a launch deal formed with SpaceX last year, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO, arranged the launches of Indian satellites on the Falcon-9.

“As part of its agreement with SpaceX for launch services, NSIL said on Wednesday that it will use the Falcon-9 rocket to launch GSAT-20.”

The initial deployment of GSAT-20, which was originally scheduled for 2018 but was subsequently postponed to 2020, aimed to address connectivity issues in remote and rural areas while also providing in-flight internet services. NSIL emphasises that this satellite will facilitate extensive data transmission throughout the country, including Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Based on market demand, NSIL is preparing to launch another satellite, GSAT-20. NSIL successfully handled the launch of GSAT-24, which Tata Play, a Direct-To-Home broadcaster, purchased in its entirety last year.

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