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Satnews Daily
November 9th, 2016

India's Gift SAARC Satellite Is Delayed 

There has been a change in India's plans involving the South Asian satellite proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the benefit of SAARC members. Originally planned for a December this year launch, the revision is now to be launched in March of next year according to ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar on Tuesday. The satellite would be launched on the GSLV Mark III, the ISRO Chairman said and preparations were on in “full swing.”

This dates back to SAARC summit in Nepal in November 2014 in which Modi announced the launching a SAARC satellite as a gift for the benefit of members of the regional grouping in various fields, including telecommunications and tele-medicine. Since Pakistan has ‘opted out’ of the project, it is now being called South Asian satellite.

India had held deliberations with experts from other SAARC countries to finalize modalities for the satellite exclusively for the regional grouping.

According to Kumar, “We have started the assembly for the launch in Sriharikota. So we are working towards making it happen as early as possible and are targeting a launch by December-end.” The rocket program is crucial for ISRO as it would help the country launch satellites weighing around four tonnes.

To a question about plans to improve manpower and infrastructure facilities, he said, “We need to do more work means we need to have more hands.: On the third launch pad, the ISRO chief said it was necessary to make sure that the existing facility was being fully utilized.

Earlier, he addressed around 1,000 sportspersons drawn from 14 ISRO centres who are participating in the inter-centre sports meet, saying such activities helped to break barriers and reinvigorate mentally and physically, besides improving team work.

Vikram Sarabhai Space Center Director Dr. K Sivan was also present.