Isro's South Asia satellite launch on board the GSLV-F09 is may not have live coverage

The media will not be present at the launch of Isro's GSLV-F09 mission according to the personal blog of Prasad Ravindranath, a reporter from The Hindu. "Apparently, the scientists have been told not to divulge any details till the satellite is launched. And I wonder what this secrecy is all about," the blog reads. The schedule of the DD National channel for the day (PDF) also does not contain a slot for coverage of the launch. Isro usually provides a link for live coverage on the mission page, which is missing for this launch. There is no brochure for the launch as well, which contains details on the timings of the various rocket stages, as well as the separation events.

This is very unusual, as normally, the media are invited to the launch event, and the National television channel covers the launch in real time, along with pre-launch programming that provides details on the background of the satellites being launched and the launch vehicles being used. It looks like no information will be forthcoming till after the launch takes place, irrespective of whether it is a success or a failure.

India's gift to neighboring countries was initially called the SAARC satellite but, Pakistan backed out of the initiative, so it is now known as the South Asia Satellite. The initiative is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project. Isro refers to the satellite as the GSat-9, and it will be launched on Isro's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), known by the nickname "naughty boy." The South Asia Satellite is a communications satellite with 12 Ku band transponders. The Ku band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies.

Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are part of the initiative, and each country will have at least one dedicated transponder. Each country is responsible for coming up with the content for communication. Potentially, there can be common programming for the region broadcast through the satellite. The satellite stands to benefit the countries in early stages of economic development the most, particularly Bhutan and Maldives. The satellite costs Rs 235 crore and has an expected life span of at least 12 years.

The GSat-09 has a lift off mass of 2,230 kg. The GSLV is a two ton class launch vehicle, stands 49 meters tall, has a diameter of 2.8 meters, and it weighs 416 tons at launch. There are three stages in the rocket. The first stage has a solid propellant main motor, with four strap on boosters with liquid propellant. The second stage has a single motor with liquid propellant. The third and final stage of the rocket has cryogenic fuel. The launch is scheduled to take place at 4:57 PM.


Published Date: May 05, 2017 04:31 pm | Updated Date: May 05, 2017 04:31 pm