India Launches South Asia 'Diplomacy' Satellite for Communication Services

06 May, 2017, 02:55 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • India begins countdown for South Asia satellite GSAT-9 launch

Prime Minister Hasina joined the video conference from the Ganabhaban.

In his remarks, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani noted that South Asia was one of the least integrated regions in the world. "The launch of this satellite will boost regional cooperation and bring about common progress of our region", ANI quoted Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay as saying.

Underlining the concept of "sabka sath, sabka vikas" (cooperation of all, development for all), he said the development marked fulfilment of India's promise made two years back to advance its space technology for the growth and prosperity of South Asia. "Problems on earth shouldn't affect relationships in outer space", he said. 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.

Precisely at 4.57 pm, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) rose into the sky from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at the spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. With an objective to strengthen cooperation in disaster communication and tele-communication among SAARC countries, the GSLV-F09 carried the GSAT-9 satellite.

Pakistan had refused to join the project, after which the satellite's name was changed from "SAARC Satellite" to "South Asian Satellite". The mission life of the satellite is said to be 12 years, but it has been created to last well beyond the deadline. The total cost of the project including the launch is worked out to be about 450-crore rupees.

The previous launch of communication satellite GSAT-8 was on May 21, 2011 from Kourou, French Guiana.

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said that the satellite would help alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of South Asians. India has said it will assist the countries in developing their ground infrastructure.

The cuboid-shaped 2,230 kg satellite named SAS will enable a full range of services to the neighbours, including in telecommunication, television, direct-to-home, VSATs, tele-education and telemedicine.

The satellite is also expected to help support their water conservation initiatives, by providing data, forecasting weather and sending alerts on natural disasters.

South Asian leaders on Friday hailed India for the successful launch of the India-initiated South Asia Satellite.

Today is a historic day for South Asia. One of the spin off benefits for India through this launch is that in the worldwide satellite launch market, GSLV-Mk II rocket may gain the confidence of potential customers.

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