ISRO launches South Asia Satellite GSAT-9

ISRO South Asia Satellite launch countdown begins

ISRO launches South Asia Satellite GSAT-9

Modi had described the South Asia satellite as India's "invaluable gift" to its neighbours.

"Rao said", I congratulate scientist at ISRO for the successful launch of GSAT 9 which will be beneficial to seven countries from the South Asian region". "Space is no more just a science and technology domain - it is being seen from a strategic and foreign policy perspective", said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation.

Prime Minister Hasina joined the video conference from the Ganabhaban.

"The flawless launch demonstrates India's capabilities in Geosynchronous Satellite launching".

The South Asia Satellite, which uses a new propulsion system, was built over three years. "Problems on earth shouldn't affect relationships in outer space", he said. The South Asia Satellite was to be originally named as SAARC Satellite. With an objective to strengthen cooperation in disaster communication and tele-communication among SAARC countries, the GSLV-F09 carried the GSAT-9 satellite.

Each South Asian country will get access to one transponder through which they will be able to beam their own programming, besides common "South Asian programming", the news reports said. It is cuboid in shape and built around a central cylinder has a mission life of over 12 years.

Modi, who has projected the satellite as India's "priceless gift" to its neighbours, said the "unprecedented" development sends out a message that "even sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation".

The GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication Satellite and data from it will be shared with the other five countries.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said that the satellite would help alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of South Asians.

Experts say "Pakistan has missed an opportunity" since its own space program is now in a primitive stage as compared to India's.

Each country has to develop its own ground infrastructure though India is willing to extend assistance and know-how.

The satellite is expected to help in better communication, weather forecasting, telemedicine and response to disaster management.

"The successful launch of South Asia Satellite is a historic moment". Costing around Rs 235 crore, the satellite was initially known as the Saarc satellite but with Pakistan deciding to keep out, it is now called the South Asia Satellite.

Today is a historic day for South Asia.

The 2.2-tonne payload entered orbit some 20 minutes later.

Further, a South Asian Satellite would greatly enhance the region's capacity for collaborative Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

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