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ISRO to launch 5 new satellites this year (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper III)

An unprecedented row of five national communication spacecraft is slated to be put in space this year with hopes of vastly cutting the gap in satellite capacity for different users.
The first of them, GSAT-9 or the South Asia Satellite, will kick off the serial launches in the first half of April. The satellites will support broadcasters, telephone, Internet service and other businesses.

Need for new satellites
For several years now, the space agency has been beset with a galloping demand from public and private sector users.

What is the importance of the launch?
Five communication spacecraft spread over less than a year is historic and a rarity for ISRO; all these years, it has launched one or two communication satellites a year. GSAT-18 was the lone communication satellite sent up in late 2016.

Satellites planned to be launched
Tentatively, ISRO has lined up the Internet user-friendly GSAT-19 for launch around May; GSAT-17 around June; GSAT-6A, which like GSAT-6, is for the Defence forces, in September; and its largest 5,000-plus GSAT-11 around December. GSAT-17 and GSAT-11 will be launched on the European Ariane launcher. Presently, ISRO has capability to launch satellites upto 2000 kg with its launch vehicle GSLV MK II.



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