ISRO To Launch ‘South Asia Satellite’, To Not Benefit Pak

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Pakistan: India plans to launch on May 5 the ‘South Asia Satellite’ that will benefit all the countries in the region, except Pakistan which is not a part of the project.

“It’s going up in the first week of May,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said in a telephonic interview. According to ISRO sources, the launch of this communication satellite (GSAT-9) is scheduled for May 5 on board the space agency’s rocket GSLV-09 from Sriharikota spaceport.

Kiran Kumar said the satellite, with a lift-off mass of 2,195 kg, would carry 12 ku-band transponders. “Pakistan is not included in that. They did not want (to be part of the project),” he said.

Sources said the satellite is designed for a mission life of more than 12 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made an announcement about this satellite during the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in 2014 calling it a “gift to India’s neighbours.” “It (name) was changed to this (South Asia Satellite) because of that only (Pakistan not being part of it),” Kiran Kumar said.

Earlier, it was named as ‘SAARC Satellite.’ “Basically, it (the satellite) is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among States (countries of South Asia region). It will provide a significant capability to each of these participating States in terms of DTH, certain VSAT capacity plus linking among the states for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things,” he said.

“So, there is a significant amount of inter-linking possible among the States (these countries),” Kiran Kumar said. According to ISRO officials, there is a potential for each participating country to use a dedicated transponder with a capacity of 36 to 54 Mhz for its own internal use. Each country would be responsible for content generation and its use, they said.

Space agency ISRO scripted history in February by successfully launching 104 satellites, including India’s weather observation Cartosat-2 Series, in a single mission onboard its dependable Polar rocket from here.

Bettering Russian space agency’s feat of launching 37 satellites in a single mission in 2014, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) injected the Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 103 nano satellites into precise orbit after a textbook lift-off from this spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai.

The previous highest number of satellites launched by ISRO in one mission was 20 in June 2015, the agency said.

Cartosat-2 Series satellite, a remote sensing spacecraft with a five-year life span, would send images that would be utilised in coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water, creation of land use maps among others, ISRO said.

So far, ISRO has launched 226 satellites, including 179 belonging to foreign countries.
At the end of the 23-hour countdown, the shortest so far by ISRO, the agency’s trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, on its 39th flight, blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 9:28 AM and soared into clear skies.

ISRO said it was able to reduce the countdown time, which normally varies upto 52 hours, as the preparations were completed in a shorter span.

After a flawless flight, the rocket first orbited 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite followed by the co-passengers — ISRO’s INS-1A and INS-1B, 96 other nano satellites belonging to two US companies, and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland and UAE.

The satellites were placed in the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) in a gap of about 30 minutes during a series of separations.

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