India’s state run aerospace company NewSpace India (NSIL) outlined plans to launch a broadband communications satellite using Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2024, as hype continues to grow around the segment in the country.

NSIL, which is the commercial arm of India’s space agency ISRO, stated it had partnered with SpaceX to use its rocket for the launch of its GSAT-20 high throughput satellite. It aims to use the system to boost the country’s broadband connectivity in remote and rural areas.

Weighing around 4,700kg, the satellite will launch in the second quarter of 2024 and it will be fully owned, operated and funded by NSIL. Currently, the company owns and operates around 11 communications satellites in orbit.

India’s space sector continues to see traction, and the news comes in the same week Reliance Jio was tipped to soon receive necessary clearance for its own satellite-based broadband service from regulator IN-SPACe. This would follow approval for a similar service run by the local unit of Eutelsat and OneWeb, expected to launch later this year.

For SpaceX, Musk is jostling for position in India’s space sector and hopes to bring his Starlink satellite broadband service to the country. SpaceX today (3 January) announced the launch six Starlink satellites with the capability to provide mobile coverage directly to standard smartphones globally.