The “South Asia” satellite, which is being developed by India for use by member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, will be launched on May 5, The Hindu reported on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Mann ki Baat address to the nation on Sunday, said the satellite will boost the development and economy of nations in the region.
The GSAT-09 will be placed in orbit by a geosynchronous launch vehicle of the Indian Space Research Organisation from its Sriharikota base, The Indian Express reported. The satellite weighs a massive 2,230 kg and took three years to build at a cost of Rs 235 crore. However, operational costs and insurance are expected to take the total cost to Rs 450 crore.
The satellite will enable a full range of applications and services in the areas of telecommunications and broadcasting, tele-education, tele-medicine and disaster management support. It will have 12 Ku-band transponders, with each Saarc country getting access to at least one transponder. The satellite has a mission life of 12 years.
“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 whole of South Asia. It is an invaluable gift. This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia,” Modi had said in his radio address on Sunday.
The prime minister had announced the initiative during the Saarc summit in November 2014. All countries, except Pakistan, had agreed to join the mission.