Science 06 May 2017 South Asia Satellite ...

South Asia Satellite puts Indian diplomacy in new orbit

Published May 6, 2017, 1:13 am IST
Updated May 6, 2017, 3:14 am IST
‘Naughty boy’ performs launch with textbook precision.
Isro’s communication satellite GSAT-9 on-board GSLV-F09 lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Friday. (Photo: PTI)
 Isro’s communication satellite GSAT-9 on-board GSLV-F09 lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

Nellore: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Friday took a major step with the textbook launch of its South Asia Satellite (SAS), while India took a giant step in South Asian diplomacy on Friday.

The Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), carrying a cryogenic stage, injected the 2,230-kg satellite precisely into its Geosynchro-nous Transfer Orbit 36,000 km above the earth.


The cuboid-shaped satellite named will enable a full range of services to the neighbours, including in telecommunication,television, direct-to-home, VSATs, tele-education andtelemedicine. The South Asian Satellite mission life is 12 years.

The satellite was placed close to its space home 18 minutes after the rocket was launched on the dot at 4.57 pm from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Shar, Sriharik-ota, 90 km from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.

This was the eleventh flight of  GSLV and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous cryogenic upper stage. The success of the launch gave Isro much needed confidence with the rocket. The GSLV rocket has been called the “naughty boy” for its patchy record previously.


The satellite, designated GSAT-9, was named Saarc satellite initially. It was changed to South Asia Satellite after Paki-stan declined to make use of the facility. The beneficiaries of the sate-llite include Afghanis-tan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and India.

Immediately after the launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Today is a historic day for South Asia. The South Asia Satellite tells us that even the sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation among like-minded countries.”

He lauded the Isro scientists for the flawless launch of the satellite.


The satellite will assist in the fields of natural resources mapping, telemedicine, education, IT connectivity and fostering people to people contact.

In Sriharikota, Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said, “We have just transported South Asia satellite from Earth to geostationary transfer orbit using our Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle Mark II that makes use of indigenously developed cryogenic engine.”


  • Isro for the first time used a fuel saving electrical propulsion system to adjust the the South Asian Satellite in its designated orbit about 36,000 km above the earth.
  • According to Isro scientists, the satellite was launched with about 80 kg of chemical fuel, which is only 25 per cent of its regular load. This allows for more payload to be carried on the satellite.
  • This way handling the satellite for more than a decade in orbit will be more cost efficient. If the experiment is successful, Isro will launch its satellite through heavy rockets such as GSLV MK-III instead of depending on foreign launch vehicles.
  • Shar officials said Electrical Propulsion System would be put to use when the satellite reaches its slot probably in two weeks and it will continue throughout its lifetime.


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