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India to launch South Asia satellite Friday

Staff Writer |
India will launch the South Asia communication satellite, built for use by countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), on Friday.

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State-owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which has built GSAT-9, the South Asia communication satellite, said that preparations for the launch are going on smoothly and the satellite will take off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota on Friday afternoon.

"We have the launch tomorrow (Friday) at 4.57 p.m. (local time)... All activities are going on smoothly," ISRO chief A.S. Kiran Kumar told the media.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the date of the satellite launch in his monthly radio program, Mann ki baat (talk from the heart), on Sunday.

"On May 5, India will launch the South Asia satellite. The benefits of this satellite will go a long way in meeting the developmental needs of the countries participating in this project," the prime minister said in his address.

"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," he said.

"It is an important step by India to enhance cooperation with the entire South Asia, it is an invaluable gift. This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia."

The 2,230-kg satellite has 12 Ku-band transponders. It is cuboid in shape and built around a central cylinder. The satellite has a mission life of over 12 years.

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