South Asia’s economy and development projects are poised to receive a major boost with the launch South Asia Satellite on May 5th by India Space Research Organization. Confirming the news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, termed the launch as an invaluable gift that will go a long way in enhancing India co-operation with its neighbors.
The launch of the satellite will mark a new chapter in India’s space diplomacy given that its technological advancement in the region is second to none. ISRO’s heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) will be used to launch the satellite
“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 endeavor,” said Prime Minister Mr. Modi.
Standing at 50m tall, the South Asia satellite weighs 2,230 kilograms and has been in the works for three years expected to have a mission life of 12 years. It boasts of 12Ku band transponders that neighboring countries will be able to use it to bolster their communication networks. Each country, however, has to develop its own ground infrastructure to utilize the band even though India says it is ready to assist when it comes to technical know-how.
South Asia Satellite Capabilities
The satellite is designed to enable full range applications touching on areas of telecommunications and broadcasting applications such as television. Countries can also use it to bolster their disaster management support as well as the education, and telemedicine. The satellite will especially be of great assistance when it comes to disaster preparedness given that the region is prone to cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
Countries that will be able to access the South Asia satellite include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal Sri-Lanka, and Maldives. Pakistan is out of the picture for the moment even on participating in the ground work in the development of the satellite. Initial estimates put the cost of launching the satellite at Rs. 235 crores.