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India to launch satellite for South Asian countries

GSAT-9, popularly known as the South Asian satellite, can be used by India’s neighbours for communication purposes

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 1, 2017 2:57:07 am
The 2230 kg satellite will ride into the geostationary orbit on GSLV-F09 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. (Representational)

The Indian Space Research Organisation is ready to launch GSAT-9, popularly known as the South Asian satellite, that can be used by India’s neighbours for communication purposes. The launch, slated for May 5, was originally scheduled for 2016 but got delayed by about six months. Pakistan is the only country in the region to have opted itself out of the project after initially being one of the partners. Modi called it “an invaluable gift” to South Asia and presented it as an example of his government’s motto of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas which, he said, was limited not just to India but extended in the “global context” as well.

“May our neighbouring countries be with us in our journey, may they develop equally,” he said in his Mann Ki Baat radio programme. “The capacities of this satellite and the facilities it provides will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities. Natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact – this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region,” he said.

The 2230 kg satellite will ride into the geostationary orbit on GSLV-F09 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Every partner country – Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives – would own at least one transponder on this satellite and use it for their desired purposes, like television broadcasting, disaster management or tele-medicine and tele-education.

The GSAT-9 is India’s effort to cater to the unfulfilled demands of its neighbours, most of whom have little presence in space. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the only two countries in the region to have launched communication satellites. Both achieved this with the help of China. Afghanistan has leased a part of a French telecommunication satellite, Eutelsat 48D, while Bangladesh is planning to launch its own satellite, Bangabandhu-1, later this year with the help of a US-based space consultancy firm.

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