Sky is not the limit for co­op­er­a­tion

The ‘South Asia Satel­lite’ will pro­vide a full range of ap­pli­ca­tions (Very Small Aper­ture Ter­mi­nals; Di­rect-to-home ser­vices; Tele-medicine; Tele-ed­u­ca­tion; Broad­cast; Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal; Dis­as­ter man­age­ment sup­port etc) and ser­vices to all of In­dia’s neighbo

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth ]

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi tweeted ‘Launch of the South Asia Satel­lite shows that for South Asia, even the sky is not the limit for co­op­er­a­tion!’ In­deed, the sky is not the limit. While the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISRO) has shown its met­tle to the world since many years, it has got an added boost with the govern­ment led by the Prime Min­is­ter, Naren­dra Modi. It was dur­ing the run-up to the In­dian gen­eral elec­tions in 2014, Prime Min­is­ter Modi had in­di­cated that the for­eign pol­icy will ac­tively fo­cus on im­prov­ing ties with the im­me­di­ate neigh­bours. Af­ter the land­slide vic­tory in the gen­eral elec­tions, Modi in­vited all heads of State/heads of govern­ment of SAARC coun­tries to his swear­ing-in cer­e­mony as the Prime Min­is­ter.

In 2014, af­ter a month in govern­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Modi asked ISRO to de­velop a SAARC satel­lite. He asked the sci­en­tists to work on a satel­lite that would pro­vide a full range of ap­pli­ca­tions (Very Small Aper­ture Ter­mi­nals – VSAT; Di­rect-to-home – DTH ser­vices; tele-medicine; tele-ed­u­ca­tion; broad­cast; me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal; dis­as­ter man­age­ment sup­port, etc) and ser­vices to all of In­dia’s neigh­bours. Prime Min­is­ter Modi had then said ‘There is a lot of poverty in the SAARC na­tions and we need sci­en­tific so­lu­tions for this.”

And ISRO, as is its prow­ess, showed that it could rise up to any oc­ca­sion. In 1975 In­dia be­came the first South Asian na­tion to launch a satel­lite. The ISRO Chair­man, A.S. Ki­ran Ku­mar had stated that the satel­lite can be launched within 18 months of re­ceiv­ing ap­proval from the SAARC mem­ber na­tions. It was pro­posed to build a satel­lite with 12 Ku-band transpon­ders (36 Mhz each) and launch us­ing the In­dian Geosyn­chronous Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle (GSLV) Mk-II. The to­tal cost of launch­ing the satel­lite was es­ti­mated at ` 235 crore, and the cost of the launch to be met by In­dia.

Pak­istan and Afghanistan back out

The coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ing, be­sides In­dia, are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Mal­dives and Sri Lanka. These coun­tries will only have to pay for their ground sta­tions; all other costs are be­ing borne by In­dia. In­stead of be­ing called SAARC satel­lite it is called South Asia satel­lite as Pak­istan and Afghanistan backed out of this ven­ture, the for­mer fear­ing that In­dia could use the satel­lite for stealth sur­veil­lance. Afghanistan wanted more transpon­ders as it has leased a satel­lite from Eu­tel­sat and was go­ing to place in the same lon­gi­tude as GSAT-9. Nepal has also plans of ac­quir­ing two com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites of its own.

Bangladesh signed into the pact only re­cently. It was wor­ried about a clash in fre­quency al­lo­ca­tion with its im­pend­ing Banga­bandhu 1 com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite. How­ever on March 23 this year, ahead of Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina’s visit to In­dia, Bangladesh signed up for the pro­gramme. As re­gards Sri Lanka, it signed up af­ter In­dia agreed to not pre­vent it from launch­ing its own com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite in the fu­ture.

In this back­ground, the May 5, 2017, launch of the 2,230 kg South Asia Satel­lite GSAT-9 into a Geosyn­chronous Trans­fer Or­bit (GTO) is his­toric. The GSLV-F09 mis­sion is the eleventh flight of In­dia’s Geosyn­chronous Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle (GSLV) and its fourth con­sec- utive flight with the in­dige­nous Cryo­genic Up­per Stage (CUS). The ve­hi­cle is de­signed to in­ject 2-2.5 tonne class of satel­lites into GTO. The over­all length of GSLV-F09 is 49.1 m. GSLV-F09 was launched from the Sec­ond Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Cen­tre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sri­harikota, the space port of In­dia.

GSLV-F09 ve­hi­cle con­fig­u­ra­tion in­clud­ing the CUS is sim­i­lar to the ones suc­cess­fully flown dur­ing the pre­vi­ous three mis­sions – GSLV-D5, D6 and F05 – in Jan­uary 2014, Au­gust 2015 and Septem­ber 2016 re­spec­tively. GSLV-D5 and D6 suc­cess­fully placed two com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lites –GSAT-14 and GSAT-6, while GSLV-F05 placed In­dia’s weather satel­lite INSAT-3DR, in the in­tended GTOs. S-band teleme­try and C-band transpon­ders en­able GSLV-F09 per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing, track­ing, range safety/flight safety and Pre­lim­i­nary Or­bit Deter­mi­na­tion (POD).

GSAT-9 is con­fig­ured around the ISRO’s stan­dard I-2K bus. The two so­lar ar­rays of GSAT-9 con­sist­ing of Ul­tra Triple Junc­tion so­lar cells gen­er­ate about 3,500 Watts of elec­tri­cal power. Sun and Earth sen­sors as well as gy­ro­scopes pro­vide ori­en­ta­tion ref­er­ence for the satel­lite. The At­ti­tude and Or­bit Con­trol Sys­tem (AOCS) of the satel­lite main­tains it’s ori­en­ta­tion with the help of mo­men­tum wheels, mag­netic tor­quers and thrusters. The satel­lite’s propul­sion sys­tem con­sists of a Liq­uid Apogee Mo­tor (LAM) and chem­i­cal thrusters us­ing liq­uid pro­pel­lants for ini­tial or­bit rais­ing and sta­tion keep­ing. The satel­lite also car­ries plasma thrusters, as­sist­ing in sta­tion keep­ing.

In­dia’s ad­vance­ments in space are highly com­mend­able and the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries can ben­e­fit from it. In­dia can also share the know-how and knowl­edge from its In­dian Re­gional Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem (IRNSS), the GPS-Aided GEO-Aug­mented Nav­i­ga­tion (GaGAN) net­works and the Car­toSat imag­ing satel­lites, while en­sur­ing that it does not com­pro­mise with its own strate­gic in­ter­ests. Re­gional co­op­er­a­tion has gone on to a higher level!

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi at the video con­fer­ence with Heads of Govern­ment from South Asian na­tions to mark the launch of the South Asia Satel­lite in New Delhi on May 5, 2017

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.