At 4.57 pm on Friday, ISRO’s GSLV-F09, carrying the South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9), was launched from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The Rs 235-crore satellite, funded entirely by India, will improve disaster and telecommunication links between six south Asian countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the ISRO scientists after the successful launch. “I congratulate the team of scientists who worked hard for the successful launch of South Asia Satellite. We are very proud of them. The historic occasion has been made better with a surprise- we have leaders of South Asian nations joining us in celebrating this launch,” PM Modi tweeted. Leaders from all the six participating countries will join in via video conference to address the press.
South Asia Satellite Launch (GSAT-9) highlights:
5.58 pm: Concluding the address, PM Modi said: “The South Asia satellite launch tells us that even the sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation. Sabka saath, sabka vikas can be guiding light for action and cooperation in region.”
5.54 pm: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena thanks all the members of the SAARC.
5.53 pm: Nepal Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal: “This would enhance connectivity between South Asian countries; connectivity is key to development.”
5.49 pm: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, quoting PM Modi, says sab ka saath sabka vikas. He urges other member countries to seize this opportunity to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
5.47 pm: Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay: It is an impressive milestone in the history of the world. “My heartfelt thanks to PM Modi for dedicating to the common good and progress for all the neighbouring countries,” he said. This generous gift from India is a symbol of true cooperation and friendship, he added.
5.43 pm: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulates on the successful launch, says launching this satellite has changed the face of South Asia.
5.39 pm: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, commenting on the launch, says “the advantages of cooperation outweigh the advantages of competition”.
“The gap between talk and action is bridged today, the imperative of regional cooperation is changed to the reality,” Ghani added.
5.38 pm: PM Modi: “Our coming together is a sign of our unshakeable resolve to place the needs of our peoples in the forefront. Through this we will achieve effective communication, better governance, better banking services and better education in remote areas.”
5.37 pm: PM Modi: “It shows that our collective choices together are for cooperation and not conflict; development, not destruction; prosperity, not poverty.”
5.36 pm: PM Modi: “Deeply appreciate the strong and valuable support extended by your governments, without which this project would not have been possible.”
5.35 pm: PM Modi: “With his (GSAT-9) position high in the sky, the symbol of South Asian progression will mark the economic progress for the millions of people and extend the growth to outer space.”
5.34 pm: PM Modi begins his address: “Today is a historic day for South Asia…Two years ago India made a promise, a promise to extend the advanced space technology for the cause of growth and prosperity of our brothers and sisters in South Asia.”
5.27 pm: Press briefing begins with leaders from all the six participating countries joining in via video conference. The satellite will reach the destined orbit within the coming few weeks, ISRO said.
5.21 pm: More tweets from our prime minister: “The support and presence of these leaders will add even more joy in the hearts & minds of our region.
“We are a united family of South Asian countries, united in our pursuit of peace, progress & prosperity of our region & the entire humankind.”
5.19 pm: Leaders from all the six participating countries will be holding a press conference via video around 5.30 pm.
5.15 pm: It has been 17 minutes since the launch and we have our first congratulatory message from none other than the prime minister himself. PM Modi tweeted: “I congratulate the team of scientists who worked hard for the successful launch of South Asia Satellite. We are very proud of them. The historic occasion has been made better with a surprise- we have leaders of South Asian nations joining us in celebrating this launch.”
5.10 pm: Did Pakistan lose out by refusing to be part of the South Asia Communication Satellite programme? Experts say they did as they don’t have the capability to pull off a satellite launch with a payload similar to the GSAT-9 mass.
5.05 pm: The successful run of India’s premier space agency, ISRO, continues with yet another feather added to its cap. Most recently, ISRO set a record by placing over 100 satellites in orbit.
5.00 pm: Here are the first images from the launch.
ISRO launches South Asia Satellite GSAT-9 from Andhra Pradesh’s Srikharikota. pic.twitter.com/59ElQn26n0
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 5, 2017
4.57 pm: We have lift off. The GSLV-F09 appears to be following the preset trajectory without any visible hitches.
4.55 pm: We are just a few minutes away from liftoff. The countdown will begin soon. Launch time: 4.57 pm.
4.50 pm: The launch will be a huge boost to PM Modi’s “neighbourhood first policy”. It is set to propel regional cooperation between SAARC-member countries to new levels.
4.45 pm: Other added benefits and uses include mapping natural resources, tele medicine and education.
4.40 pm: The satellite is equipped with 12 KU transponders that will aid in improving communication between countries. The six participating countries in the space programme will be given access to at least two transponders.
4.30 pm: The GSAT-9 weighs 2230 kgs and was built in three years. It will have a mission life of more than 12 years.