ISRO launches South Asian Satellite, Modi's gift to India's neighbours

ISRO has planned to launch GSLV mission in a bid to provide various communication applications in the Ku-band with coverage over south Asian countries. DH

ISRO has planned to launch GSLV mission in a bid to provide various communication applications in the Ku-band with coverage over south Asian countries. DH

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) today successfully launched the "South Asia Satellite", a project that will benefit the countries of the South Asian region.

The almost 50-m-tall rocket that weighs about 412 tons had on board a single passenger, what is now dubbed as the South Asia Satellite or what the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) still prefers to call GSat-9.

"And in this, you will find a strong and committed partner in India that truly believes in the strength of this choice and principle", he told leaders of Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan which are a part of the project.

Seven out of the eight SAARC countries are a part of the project, as Pakistan chose to opt out stating "it has its own space programme".

The South Asia Satellite will offer participating countries television services and communications technology for bank ATMs and e-governance, and may even serve as a backup for cellular networks, especially in places where the terrestrial connectivity is weak, the Indian foreign ministry said. The satellite will also help in natural resource mapping.

The national space agency ISRO used the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage in this flight of the GSLV for the fourth time. Maithripala Sirisena, prime minister of Sri Lanka, said it signified Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to building ties with the rest of the countries of South Asia.

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"Rao said", I congratulate scientist at ISRO for the successful launch of GSAT 9 which will be beneficial to seven countries from the South Asian region".

With a lift off mass of 2230 kg, GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication Satellite providing various communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries. The total cost of the project including the launch is worked out to be about 450-crore rupees. Nepal has also floated tenders to acquire two satellites and Afghanistan has an old India-made satellite which it procured from Europe.

India on Friday launched the politically charged "South Asia satellite", which it says will provide communications services to other countries in the region. "The Satellite was then renamed as "South Asia Satellite" as the project was taken out of the SAARC ambit", he said.

He went on to add: "Today is a historic day for South Asia". In its oval shaped GTO, the South Asia Satellite is now orbiting the Earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 36,105 km with an orbital inclination of 20.65 deg with respect to the equator.

The plan to develop "SAARC" satellite was initiated in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed the office.

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