Indian space PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) announced on Tuesday (30 January) that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French satellite launch company Arianespace.
This partnership is aimed at jointly exploring the expanding international market for commercial satellite launch services.
"Under the agreement, NSIL’s heavy lift LVM3 rocket and Arianespace’s Ariane-6 rocket will collaborate to meet the rising demand for launching heavy communication, earth observation and satellite constellation payloads," NSIL said.
NSIL is the commercial branch of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
This collaboration is particularly significant as Arianespace transitions away from its Ariane-5 launch vehicle, which has been instrumental in launching numerous global satellites, including those from India, and faces developmental delays with its Ariane-6 rocket.
NSIL's analysis of the global launch services market for the next decade indicates significant growth potential, especially for rockets capable of transporting large payloads to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and low earth orbit (LEO).
However, this growth is contingent on India's ability to increase the production of the LVM-3 rocket and to involve the private sector in these efforts.
This long-term mutual agreement aims to reinforce NSIL and Arianespace’s positions in the highly-competitive commercial launch services industry in the 2020s.
Both the companies are preparing for an increase in launch activities to meet the demands of the burgeoning satellite market, which includes private communication networks, IoT services, and earth observation constellations.
Earlier this month, NSIL announced its plan to launch a high-throughput satellite using Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket later in the year.
NSIL plans to launch its second demand-driven communications satellite, the GSAT-20 (renamed GSAT-N2), in the second quarter of 2024. The satellite will be a high-throughput Ka-band satellite primarily aimed at meeting India’s growing broadband connectivity needs.
The 4,700 kg GSAT-N2 satellite, entirely owned, operated, and funded by NSIL, is expected to provide up to 48 Gbps of capacity through 32 beams, covering the entirety of India, including the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands.
This launch will mark NSIL's first use of a US launcher, as it has previously relied on Arianespace for launches involving satellites heavier than the capacity of Indian launch vehicles.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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