ISRO will launch the South Asia Communication Satellite today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had termed the Geostationary Communication Satellite as India’s “priceless gift” to its neighbouring countries. The Satellite will boost connectivity among nations in the region. The GSAT-9 satellite will ride piggyback on the space agency’s rocket GSLV-F09 with indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage, the report says. “We have the launch tomorrow at 4.57 PM in the evening… All activities are going on smoothly,” ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar was quoted as saying by PTI yesterday.
The GSLV-F09 carrying GSAT-9 will blast off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. “The 28-hour countdown operations of GSLV-F09/GSAT-9 mission started at 12:57 hrs today,” the ISRO said.
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Seven of the eight SAARC countries–India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives, are a part of the project. Pakistan had decided to opt out, stating “it has its own space programme.”
The satellite, costing around Rs 235 crore, is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of South Asia region. Its mission life will span 12 years.
After coming to power in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked ISRO scientists to develop a SAARC satellite that can be dedicated to neighbouring countries as a “gift from India.” On his ‘Mann ki baat’ programme on Sunday last, Modi had announced that the South Asia Satellite would be India’s “priceless gift” to its neighbouring countries, the PTI story says.
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“On May 5, India will launch the South Asia Satellite. The benefits of this satellite will go a long way in meeting the developmental needs of the countries participating in this project,” Modi had said.
On future launches, Kumar said, ISRO would launch the GSLV MK III variant which would be followed by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in the coming months. Further, ISRO would launch Chandrayaan-II in the beginning of next year, he added. The previous launch of communication satellite GSAT-8 was on May 21, 2011 from Kourou, French Guiana, the PTI report says.