On May 5, 2017, the "South Asia satellite", called GSAT-09, will be launched by India that was built for use of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced the launch of the satellite during a radio show, Mann ki Baat, on April 30, 2017.
While announcing this, he said that the capacities of the satellite and the facilities it provides "will go a long way in addressing South Asia's economic and developmental priorities."
In his address to the nation, PM Modi, said, "Natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people to people contact - this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region. It is an important step by India to enhance co-operation with the entire South Asia… it is an invaluable gift. This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia."
Much before its launch, the Prime Minister announced about the satellite during the SAARC Summit in 2014 that was held in Nepal. Heralding a technological advance for the South Asian region, the step was welcomed by all SAARC countries that have since joined the satellite since then, with the exception of Pakistan. Owing to the tension between India and Pakistan, the latter has consciously kept itself at bay from such joint ventures. This indicates that the politics of the region is overbearing, pushing one country into isolation, while integrating others.
The total cost of the launch of the satellite is estimated to be about INR 235 crore. This cost of the launch will be met by the Government of India, as told by the Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in the Parliament.
The satellite, which is named GSAT-09, enables a full range of applications and services in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications like, Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support.
The satellite that weighs 2,230 kilograms was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and has 12 Ku-band transponders. The shape is cuboid and is built around a central cylinder. It has a mission life of over 12 years. The satellite will be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota using a Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-II launch vehicle, which is about 50 metres tall and is the 11th flight of the GSLV. It is the fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) engine.
While India is going to launch a South Asian Satellite, it also shows the collective will of the region as a whole. The Satellite is called "Modi's gift to SAARC Nations."