- The satellite will connect India with the other six SAARC members
- It will help the nations communicate better during disasters, emergencies
- PM Modi said it embodies the "spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas"
Here's your 10-point-guide to the South Asia Satellite:
The South Asia Satellite will be launched atop a 50-meter tall rocket, the Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV on its 11th flight. The rocket weighs 414 kg and will use an indigenous cryogenic engine.
ISRO built the 2,230-kg satellite, which uses a new propulsion system, over three years at a cost of Rs. 235 crore. Its mission life is 12 years. The project costs over 450 crore.
The satellite will provide telecommunication links between India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Each country can beam its own TV programs while there will be the possibility for a common South Asia programming.
The satellite will help the nations communicate better during disasters and it could help establish a hotline among them. The functions of the South Asia satellite will include telemedicine and education.
The satellite has 12 Ku Band transponders -- devices that help in communication. Each nation will get access to at least one transponder. India said it was ready to help them with the ground infrastructure.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the satellite embodies the "spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas... inclusive development for all." That mantra, PM Modi said in his radio address Mann Ki Baat, was not confined to India alone. "It applies to the global context too. And very specially to our neighbouring countries," he said.
The facilities of the satellite, the Prime Minister said, "will go a long way in addressing South Asia's economic and developmental priorities".
PM Modi had, after taking office in 2014, asked scientists at ISRO to develop a SAARC satellite as a gift dedicated to neighbouring countries.
Pakistan opted out of the project, saying it has its "own space programme". Pakistan has five satellites but lacks heavy duty launchers and satellite fabrication facilities.