Isro develops satellite for Bhutan: Isro Chairman Somnath

Bengaluru, July 12 (FN Agency) The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman S Somnath on Monday said the engineers of India’s premier space agency and Bhutan government have developed a small satellite and Bhutanese engineers are being trained for using it.”We are not only launching a satellite for Bhutan, they are part of it. Scientists from Bhutan have come to Isro and worked with us. They have developed the satellite. They are trained on the ground in space stations. Even today they are in Ahmedabad undergoing training for how to make use of the satellite,” he told reporters here, replying to an UNI query.Not only Bhutan, Isro will continue this work with all the neighbouring countries, Somnath said. India has been working closely with the government of Bhutan in the area of space cooperation, and in August 2019 both Prime Ministers had inaugurated the Ground Earth Station of South Asia Satellite (SAS) in Thimphu jointly.

In 2017, the SAS was launched by India as a gift to the countries in South Asia Region including Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives and the Ground Earth Station has been constructed with the support of ISRO. The SAS is expected to have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of Bhutan in areas including communication and disaster management. Therefore, as a special gift to the people of that country, India has offered to increase bandwidth on an additional transponder as per Bhutan’s requirements. India and Bhutan had in August 2019, agreed to work together in developing a small satellite for Bhutan jointly, which is in line with the vision of the King of Bhutan to harness space technology for the benefit of its people.

Towards this, a Joint Working Group (JWG) was formed to assist with the implementation of the project, which also includes developing a geo-portal system, which will help Bhutan for natural resources and disaster management. On November 20, 2020, PM Modi and Bhutan PM Dr Lotay Tshering had a virtual meeting where it was announced that the small satellite for Bhutan will be launched in 2021. It was also announced that India will extend the capacity building to Bhutanese engineers for the purpose. Keeping in line with this proposal, a team of four Bhutanese space engineers from the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, under the Ministry of Information and Communications of Bhutan, have been visiting India for their training.