The “South Asia satellite” for use by countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region has been launched on May 5. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the satellite as an invaluable gift of India to South Asia and has further stated that the satellite “will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities.” During the 2014 SAARC summit that held in Nepal, the plan for the satellite was announced and subsequently all SAARC countries have joined it except Pakistan. Hence, the beneficiaries of the satellite will be Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
The total cost of launching the satellite (around Rs 235 crore) would be met by the Government of India.
The 2,230 kg satellite called GSAT-09 has been built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is cuboid in shape and is built around a central cylinder. It has 12 Ku-band transponders. The satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota using a Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-II launch vehicle. It will have a mission life of over 12 years. The launch vehicle, GSLV-F09 is about 50m tall and is the 11th flight of the GSLV. Also, the launch is GSLV’s fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) engine.
The satellite will provide a full range of applications and services in the fields of telecommunication and broadcasting applications, namely, Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support.
Each of the participating countries would be able to use a dedicated transponder with a capacity of 36 to 54 Mhz for its own internal use. The participating countries would be made responsible for the content generation and its use.