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Modi's pet space project to take flight on May 5


23 Jul 2015
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Apr 06 2017 : The Times of India (Mumbai)

India's first space mission with a strong political flavour--a pet project of PM Narendra Modi--will be launched on May 5, Isro officials told TOI on Wednesday . The nearly two-tonne satellite, called the South Asia Satellite, will be flown by the three-stage Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), and the launch is scheduled for 4.30pm on May 5 from Sriharikota. "Unless there are some last minute developments, as of now, everything is set for the launch exactly a month from today" an official said. Modi, a month after being sworn in as PM, asked Isro to develop what was then called a Saarc satellite when he witnessed the launch of the PSLVC-23 mission on June 30, 2014 at Sriharikota. He called it a gift to India's neighbours. In March 2016, the external affairs ministry announced that Pakistan had pulled out of the project resulting in the spacecraft being renamed South Asia Satellite. Bangladesh joined the project as recently as March 23, 2017. Indian high commissioner to Dhaka, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, at a function described the satellite as “Modi's neighbour-first foreign policy .“ Shringla said that Bangladesh's participation focused on India's support and commitment to launch Bangladesh's Bangabandhu-1 satellite, and also future ones. According to Isro, Afghanisthan, after its initial apprehensions, has pledged its support. The other Saarc nations which are part of this political space mission are Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Once operational, the satellite will provide services to Saarc nations, with the exception of Pakistan, in the areas of tele-education, tele- medicine, inter-government networks, disaster management, TV broadcast and DTH TV service. The mission director for this oneof-a-kind `political' flight is R Umamaheshwaran. The project faced delays due to a variety of factors. Speculation is rife that the launch of this satellite-- estimated to cost around Rs 235 crore--will go a long way in strengthening India's political clout in the Saarc region.

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21 Jun 2013
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ISRO announces launch of South Asia Satellite on May 5; Pakistan's name dropped

May 2017 is all set to witness the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) 'South Asia Satellite' that aims to benefit all the countries in the region. Pakistan will not be a part of the project.

In a telephonic interview with PTI, ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar confirmed the agency's plan saying that, “It's going up in the first week of May.”

According to ISRO sources, the launch of this communication satellite (GSAT-9) is scheduled for May 5 on board the space agency's rocket GSLV-09 from Sriharikota spaceport.

ISRO announces launch of South Asia Satellite on May 5; Pakistan's name dropped | Zee News
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