The countdown for the May 5 evening launch of South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9 by India will begin on Thursday morning, said sources in the Indian space agency.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also getting ready for the maiden launch of its heaviest GSLV rocket by this month-end.
“The countdown is expected to start tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon and the GSLV rocket with the satellite is expected to blast off from the second launch pad around 5.30 p.m. on Friday the May 5,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
India will launch communication satellite GSAT-9 or South Asia Satellite using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) on May 5, the ISRO had said earlier.
The GSAT-9 communication satellite is being launched with an objective to provide different communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries, it had said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 30 said the South Asia Satellite to be launched by India on May 5 will go a long way in addressing the region’s economic and developmental priorities.
“The capacities of this satellite and the facilities it provides will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities,” he said in his monthly radio show ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
“Natural resources mapping, telemedicine, 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.”
“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. I welcome all the South Asian countries who have joined us on the South Asia Satellite in this momentous endeavour,” he had said.
ISRO said that the GSAT-9 is configured around the ISRO’s standard I-2K bus, with lift off mass of 2,230 kg, and the satellite’s main structure of the satellite is cuboid in shape built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.
The GSLV rocket will fly with indigenous cryogenic engine and would blast off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the ISRO added.
According to an official, ISRO on experimental basis has decided to have electric power for the satellite.
“We have not reduced the volume of the traditional onboard fuel because of the electric power. We have added electric power facility to check its performance for use in future satellites,” an official said.
He said the next satellite with electric power will be the GSAT 20 which will be launched next year.
Meanwhile ISRO is also gearing up to launch its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mk III later this month and preparations are on for that at the rocket port.
“The rocket’s first and second stage or engines have been integrated. The satellite GSAT-19 and the cryogenic engine are also at the Sriharikota,” an official said.