ISRO's GSAT-9 launched, PM describes as 'priceless gift'

Posted May 06, 2017

The cost of this project is around Rs. 235 crores with 12 years of mission life.

Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda said, the satellite will enhance connectivity and will be helpful to provide communication services in the mountain and hilly regions of Nepal.

The plan to develop "SAARC" satellite was initiated in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed the office. With a cuboid-shaped main structure built around a central cylinder, the satellite is scheduled to take off precisely at 4.57 pm today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The 2,230-kg communication spacecraft will support communication, broadcasting and Internet services, disaster management, tele-medicine, tele-education, weather forecasting in a region that is geographically challenging, economically lagging with limited technological resources, they echoed in their addresses. "Successful launch of South Asian Satellite is a historic moment".

The South Asia Satellite was launched after a 28-hour long countdown that started on 5 May 2017 at 12.57pm.

Pakistan had refused to join the project, after which the satellite's name was changed from "SAARC Satellite" to "South Asian Satellite".

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GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication Satellite with the objective to provide various communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries.

In his weekly briefing in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said India had made it clear that it would build, launch and operate the satellite on its own despite the fact that it would be registered with the International Telecommunication Union as SAARC Satellite.

On April 30, PM Narendra Modi, in his last monthly radio talk show "Mann ki Baat", had said that this launch will boost South Asia's economic and developmental priorities. Congratulated ISRO on the success of the launch, he said that this was a historic day for South Asia and a day without precedence.

The national space agency ISRO uses the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage in this flight of the GSLV for the fourth time.

The satellite took nearly three years to build, would boost services such as telecommunication, direct-to-home, telemedicine, tele-education and other supporting systems in these countries. Both nations are jockeying for a position as a space power, and China already launched satellites for Sri Lanka, and of course its all-weather ally, Pakistan, which stayed out of the Indian project, ostensibly for security reasons. He said, the gift from India is an example of true friendship and cooperation and will bring common progress of the region. "Each milestone makes us proud of the tremendous ingenuity&talent of our scientists", Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.