The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) added yet another feather to its cap on May 5 when its GSLV-F09 rocket carrying India’s GSAT-9 lifted off from the Sriharikota base. The 2230-kg satellite will have a 12-year lifespan. But what makes the Rs.450 crore satellite launch unique, is that it is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite. It was developed by the space agency for the SAARC region including eight countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Initially, it was to be called 'SAARC Satellite' but after Pakistan refused to join the project, its name was changed to ‘South Asia Satellite’. The satellite, which was three years in making after prime minister Narendra Modi mooted the idea, is aimed at helping neighbouring nations in the area map natural resources, tele-medicine, education and improve IT connectivity. Additionally, each country will get access to one transponder through which they can beam their own programming along with the common “South Asian programming.” Looks like Modi’s space diplomacy will take him to a different orbit.
ISRO added another feather to its cap when its GSLV-F09 rocket carrying India's GSAT-9 was launched from the Sriharikota base
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