ISRO Partners with SpaceX for Launch of GSAT 20 Satellite

ISRO Partners with SpaceX for Launch of GSAT 20 Satellite

In a significant development, ISRO, India’s space agency, will launch its latest large satellite using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Announcement and Details:

ISRO chairman S Somanath revealed at the India Space Congress-2024 in New Delhi that the GSAT 20 satellite has received clearance. It will be transported to the US and launched aboard Falcon 9 in mid-August, marking a dedicated Falcon 9 launch.

Falcon 9 Overview:

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, a two-stage vehicle measuring approximately 70 meters in length, boasts a successful track record with 358 launches to date.

Shift from Ariane to Falcon 9:

Previously reliant on Ariane Space for heavy satellite launches, India has turned to Falcon 9 following the decommissioning of the French rocket and pending development of its replacement.

GSAT 20 Satellite Specifications:

GSAT 20, a cutting-edge communication satellite developed by ISRO, weighs 4,700 kg and features a high throughput capacity of 48 Gbps. It includes 32 spot beams designed to cover all of India, prioritizing connectivity for Northeastern regions.

Operational Ownership:

Owned and operated by ISRO’s commercial arm, New Space India Ltd (NSIL), GSAT 20 has already sold nearly 80% of its capacity to a private entity, though the buyer remains undisclosed.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

Due to payload limitations of India’s Launch Vehicle Mark 3, ISRO opted for SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Somanath highlighted the need for increased demand for Indian rockets, urging the private sector to develop satellites compatible with domestic launches.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:

  1. Who will launch ISRO’s GSAT 20 satellite?
    • A) European Space Agency
    • B) SpaceX’s Falcon 9
    • C) China National Space Administration
    • D) Indian Space Research Organisation
    • Answer: B) SpaceX’s Falcon 9
  2. What is the weight of ISRO’s GSAT 20 satellite?
    • A) 3,200 kg
    • B) 4,700 kg
    • C) 5,500 kg
    • D) 6,800 kg
    • Answer: B) 4,700 kg
  3. Which rocket was previously used by India for heavy satellite launches before turning to Falcon 9?
    • A) Long March 5
    • B) Falcon Heavy
    • C) Ariane Space
    • D) GSLV Mk III
    • Answer: C) Ariane Space
  4. Who operates GSAT 20 satellite once launched?
    • A) SpaceX
    • B) New Space India Ltd (NSIL)
    • C) NASA
    • D) European Space Agency
    • Answer: B) New Space India Ltd (NSIL)
  5. What is significant about the launch agreement between NSIL and Space Machines Company?
    • A) It involves the largest Indian-designed satellite launch.
    • B) It marks the first commercial SSLV rocket launch.
    • C) It introduces a joint Indo-US space mission.
    • D) It pioneers the use of Ariane 6 for Indian satellites.
    • Answer: B) It marks the first commercial SSLV rocket launch.