India's Satellite gift for neighbouring countries to be launched within 28 hours!

May 04, 2017, Chennai

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The 28-hour countdown for the launch of the South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9, which will be India's gift to its neighbouring countries, started on Thursday. The rocket is set to blast off from Sriharikotta space station on Friday, May 5.

The countdown operations of GSLV-F09/GSAT-9 mission started at 12:57 hours IST, on May 04, 2017, said Isro.

The Prime Minister had asked Isro in 2014 to develop a SAARC satellite that can be dedicated as a 'gift' to the country's neighbours. It was earlier referred as the SAARC satellite, but was renamed after Pakistan opted out of the project.

It has been estimated that the total cost of launching this satellite is around Rs 235 crore, which India has borne entirely.

The Prime Minister said that the satellite will help region's economic and developmental priorities. The vehicle is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite that will provide valuable information to nations like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that are part of the region.

GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication Satellite with the objective of providing various communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries. GSAT-9 is configured around the Isro's standard I-2K bus, with lift off mass of 2230 kg.

The main structure of the satellite is cuboid in shape built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.

GSLV-F09 mission is the 11th flight of GSLV and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS). Isro on experimental basis has decided to have electric power for the satellite.

Natural resources mapping, tele medicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact -- this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region.

"It is an important step by India to enhance cooperation with the entire South Asia... It is an invaluable gift. This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia. I welcome all the South Asian countries who have joined us on the South Asia Satellite in this momentous endeavour," said the Prime Minister in his recent address to the Nation.

The satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among countries in the South Asia region. It will also provide a significant capability to each of these participating countries in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus links for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.

It may be noted, India is the strongest in Space missions among these countries in the region, since it has developed and lauched its own satellite launchers and satellites and has placed itself among the elite group of space exploring countries. While Sri Lanka has its own communication satellites, it was deployed with the help of China. Bangladesh is in the process of developing a satellite with the help of a French firm.

Meanwhile Isro is also gearing up to launch its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mk III later this month and preparations are on for that at the rocket port.

"The rocket's first and second stage of engines have been integrated. The satellite GSAT-19 and the cryogenic engine are also at the Sriharikota," an official said.