The GSAT-9 satellite, projected as India’s gift to South Asian countries, was developed and integrated to the launcher in cityThirty-one years after it played host to the first South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit to be held in India in 1986, Bengaluru will now contribute to India’s space diplomacy for the region with the launch of the South Asia satellite. The GSAT-9 satellite, projected to be India’s gift to South Asian countries, will be launched on May 5 and it has been developed and integrated to the launcher in the city. The Geostationary Communication Satellite, which is expected to facilitate and benefit natural resources mapping, tele medicine and IT connectivity among nations in the South Asian neighbourhood will blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. “The GSAT-9 communication satellite was developed and integrated by ISROSatellite Centre (ISAC), Bengaluru, the lead centre for building satellites and developing associated satellite technologies,” said an official. Dignitaries from neighbouring countries are expected to witness the launch. Developed for a mission life of more than 12 years, the 2,230-kg satellite’s primary objective is to provide various communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries. Though officials from the space agency did not spell out details on the launch, sources said the launch of GSAT-9 onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) is expected to take place in the evening and the countdown will start. The idea of launching the regional satellite was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. Originally christened the SAARC satellite, it was later renamed South Asia satellite. All SAARC members except Pakistan are part of the programme. The launch is also crucial for ISRO as it marks the eleventh flight of the GSLV and the fourth one with an indigenous cryogenic upper stage. The launch is seen as a precursor to the big launch (developmental flight of the GSLV MkIII) which is expected to take place by the end of the month.
SAARC and the city
* In November 1986, the city hosted the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit
* It was the second edition of the SAARC Summit and the first to be held in India
* The event was hosted by the then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and was attended by the head of states of all the SAARC countries