Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Gift’ to south Asian nations, the South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) was successfully launched on May 5, 2017, by ISRO from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. GSAT-9 was launched using ISRO’s GSLV-F09 rocket.
- South Asia Satellite will improve disaster and telecommunication links between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. On April 30, 2017, PM Modi had highlighted on radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ that the motto of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikaas’ applies not only within India but also in global context with special reference to India’s neighbouring countries.
About South Asia Satellite:
It is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Weight: 2230 kg
- Transponders: 12 Ku-band transponders (36 Mhz each)
- Mission Life: More than 12 years
- Cost: 235 crore (entirely funded by India)
The idea of launching a satellite which specifically caters to communication needs of SAARC nations was first proposed by PM Narendra Modi while addressing ISRO scientists in June 2014. Later in November 2014, PM Modi mentioned about this idea during his speech at 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu.
- Since this satellite was to serve SAARC nations, it was named ‘SAARC Satellite’. As Pakistan did not participate in this project, the name was later changed to South Asia Satellite. Afghanistan too did not show much interest in this project.
- The launch was initially scheduled for December 2016 but was delayed.
Benefits of South Asia Satellite:
- The satellite will bring benefits in the areas of mapping of natural resources, IT-connectivity, education, tele-medicine and people-to-people links.
- Most importantly, it will enable linking among the countries for disaster information transfer.
- It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH (direct-to-home).
- Each participating country will get access to one transponder through which they could beam their own programming. There is also a scope to have a common “South Asian Programming”.
The entire project cost, up to the launch has been borne by India. To derive benefits from this satellite, the participating country will have to develop its own ground infrastructure. However, India Government has shown willingness to extend technical assistance in this matter.