ISRO Successfully Launches GSAT-9 'SAARC' South Asian Communication Satellite

Robyn Ryan
May 6, 2017

An Indian rocket with the over two tonne South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9, meant to address the region's "economic and developmental priorities", blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on Friday. ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said, "We have the launch tomorrow at 4.57 PM in the evening..." Each country in the South-Asian region including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal will gain access to a transponder, which will be used by them to strengthen their own program and beam satellite link to their ground station.

Earlier, the project was named as SAARC satellite project but was later changed into the South Asia Satellite after Pakistan pulled off itself from the project.

And, through this, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India will together achieve: effective communication; better governance, better banking and better education in remote areas; more predictable weather forecasting and efficient resource mapping; linking people with top end medical services through tele-medicine and a quick response to natural disasters.

The ISRO team has led from the front in developing the South Asia Satellite as per the regions' requirements, and flawlessly launching it.

The mainframe of the satellite is cuboid in shape, built around a central cylinder.

GSLV-F09 mission is the eleventh flight of GSLV and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous cryogenic upper stage (CUS). "We are a united family of South Asian countries, united in our pursuit of peace, progress & prosperity of our region & the entire humankind", he tweeted soon after the launch.

Costing around Rs 235 crore, the satellite has a life span of over 12 years, and its objective is to provide communication applications in Ku-band for the user nations.

Of course, there's a geopolitical backdrop there, too: Beijing, as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative, is seeking to boost its economic and diplomatic influence in South Asia.

Tellis called the move a "manifestation of [Modi's] noblesse oblige-his conviction that India, as the dominant power in South Asia, must make extraordinary contributions to the economic uplift of the subcontinent".

"South Asia today has taken a giant step towards regional integration", he said.

It was because of this difference the satellite was renamed the South Asian Satellite instead, he added.

This "gift" from India has no parallels in the space-faring world.

Speaking at this historic occasion, the Prime Minister said that the launch of South Asia Satellite marks the fulfilment of India's commitment and also the beginning of the journey to build the most advanced frontier of our partnership.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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