India to use SpaceX rocket to launch communications satellite

FILE PHOTO: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off, carrying 53 Starlink internet satellites, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. May 18, 2022. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India will launch a communications satellite using SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket this year, its first partnership with a venture led by billionaire Elon Musk who also wants to expand his other businesses in the country.

The high-capacity satellite aims to boost India’s broadband communication, especially in remote and unconnected regions of the country, state-run NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of India’s space agency, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The launch is scheduled for the second quarter of this year, NSIL said. The satellite weighs 4,700 kg, which exceeds the current highest spacecraft launching capacity of 4,000 kg of India’s space agency ISRO.

Musk, who is the chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla, is keen to bring his Starlink satellite broadband to India and is also discussing an investment proposal for Tesla to set up a factory there to make electric vehicles. But he is facing a pushback from some in the country’s domestic industry.

NSIL said it will fully own, operate and fund the GSAT-20 high-throughput satellite, offering capacity of 48 gigabits per second.



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