No media glare for South Asia Satellite

A communication spacecraft, the South Asia Satellite, which will serve India and six of its regional neighbours, is set to lift off from Sriharikota off Andhra Pradesh on Friday evening.

Some bare information on this regional diplomatic overture apart, mystery shrouded the civil mission until late on the eve of the launch. The 2230-kg spacecraft will be launched on a GSLV, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s medium-lift rocket, numbered F09.

A normally transparent ISRO has been unusually reticent about a less than routine launch. The time of the launch has a cryptic clue - one must infer it as 4.57 p.m. from the duration of the countdown. There will be no live telecast. Brochures that would be routinely released about five days ahead of a mission are still to be uploaded on the ISRO website.

No media glare for South Asia Satellite

Mediapersons will not cover a launch for the first time in a decade; normally ISRO would ferry about 200 reporters from different places to Sriharikota to witness a launch. This would be the fourth time in the history of Indian space launches, recalled T.S. Subramanian, veteran journalist with The Hindu’s group publication, Frontline, who writes on Space and Defence and who has not missed an ISRO launch since 1980.

Among the three earlier exceptions was the launch of of Israel’s spy satellite, TecSAR, on a PSLV in January 2008.

ISRO functionaries said, “This is our mandate. We don’t know much about all this, either.”

GSAT-9 was planned years ahead to augment Internet broadband and DTH activities within the country.

It is not known if Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who offered the spacecraft for the region, or dignitaries from those nations will witness the launch.

This much is known: a 28-hour countdown began for the GSLV mission at 12.57 p.m. on Thursday, along with other pre-launch activities, according to the space agency’s one-liner put out in the afternoon.

GSLV-F09 is slated to take off with the 2,230-kg satellite at 4.57 p.m. on Friday.

The communication spacecraft carries 12 Ku-band transponders that can drive telecommunication, disaster management, broadcasting and direct to home TV, Internet activities, tele-education and telemedicine across the region.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 12:51:54 AM |

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