The South Asia Satellite will be launched on May 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday, describing it as India's "priceless gift" to its neighbours as part of the "sabka sath, sabka vikas" concept. "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.
The benefits will be in the areas of mapping of natural resources, tele-medicine, education, IT connectivity and people-to-people links, he said.
This week's space mission, GSAT-9 or the South Asia Satellite, will carry a new feature that will eventually make advanced Indian spacecraft far lighter. "The satellite of South Asia will help in the overall development of the entire region".
Taking their place in the space race, Indian Space Research Organisation is gearing up for a launch this week of a gift that will provide free service to those in need. Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they can beam their own programming and there could be common South Asian programming as well.
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The South Asia Satellite is reported to have 12 Ku band transponders with a coverage extending all over the South Asia region which India's neighbours can make use of to enhance communications. This gift of a communications satellite is for use by neighbors at no cost.
The almost 50-m-tall rocket that weighs about 412 tons will carry what is now dubbed as the "South Asia Satellite" or what the ISRO still prefers to call GSAT-9.
Addressing India's top scientists at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in June 2014, PM Modi had said he wanted the scientists to "develop a satellite which could be dedicated to our neighbourhood and help SAARC nations". Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have confirmed with Afghanistan soon to follow after the completion of technical formalities.
The satellite is created to enable full range applications touching on areas of telecommunications and broadcasting applications such as television.
"The rocket's first and second stage or engines have been integrated".