South Asia Satellite to Launch Today as PM Modi’s Gift to Neighbours

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India is set to launch its GSLV F-09 rocket today, which will carry the South Asia satellite into orbit. The GSAT-9 satellite, or the ‘South Asia’ satellite as it is called, comes as a gift from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the neighbouring countries of India.

The GSLV rocket is set to take off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 4:57 pm today. ISRO had started a 28-hour countdown for the launch on Thursday at 12 pm.

Previously, the Geostationary Communication Satellite was aimed at helping all the SAARC nations gain increased communication in the region. However, Afghanistan and Pakistan pulled out of the mission and hence, the satellite will now serve 5 countries in South Asia, namely Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The entire mission is funded completely by India, with the total cost for the mission reaching up to Rs 235 Crore.

The lift-off mass is estimated to be around 2,230 Kg, including both the launch vehicle and the satellite. The mission is expected to last for 12 years.

The main goal of the GSAT-9 satellite is to provide communication channels and hence meet the telecommunication needs of the participating nations. All the participating nations will have access to data from the satellite and will have to build their own ground infrastructure to further deploy the data.