GSAT-9, a multi band communication and observation satellite developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has left the organisation’s Satellite Centre in Bengaluru and is now heading to its launch site at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
After being securely loaded on a garlanded government truck, the GSAT-9 left Bengaluru to a crowd of ISRO members bidding it goodbye as it began its 350km journey from the state of Karnataka to the launch site, which lies on a barrier island in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The launch of GSAT-9 was delayed from March and April 4 this year; speculators say this was due to technical issues with GSLV Mark II launch vehicle, although no official reason has been given.
If the launch is successful, the GSAT-9 will be able to provide India with better GPS navigation, as the satellite will be part of the country’s GAGAN satellite-based augmentation system.
With the flag-off of the GSAT-9 yesterday, it is now almost certain that the launch will take place soon, close to or possibly even before the launch of ISRO’s Cartosat-2E slated for 23 April from the same launch site at Sriharikota.
The upcoming event will be ISRO’s first since its record-breaking launch of 104 satellites which took place on February 15 this year. After these two launches, ISRO will launch its GSAT-19 on the GLSV-III launch vehicle in late May. The success of this will mark another milestone for ISRO, as it will be its first launch vehicle to utilize an indigenous cryogenic third stage.