The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched the GSAT-7A military communication satellite on the GSLV-F11 rocket today at 4.10 pm IST.
In a 20-minute launch sequence, the GSLV-F11 lifted off from its Sriharikota launchpad, and released the GSAT-7A into a geosynchronous transfer at an altitude of 270 kilometres.
The satellite is expected to substantially boost the communication systems of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Built by ISRO, the satellite weighing roughly 2,250kg is designed to last a good eight years in orbit. It will provide communication capability to its final users in the Ku-band spectrum over India.
The GSAT-7A will be solely operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), much like the Navy’s GSAT-7.
It is designed to help interlink the Air Force’s ground radar stations, bases and airborne early warning and control system (AWACS) aircrafts. It will also be used to operate the Indian Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and drone operations.
GSAT-7A also features a Gregorian antenna, which is expected to bring a big boost to the satellite’s performance
“There is increased demand for satellites from strategic sectors. About six/seven satellites are planned to be built,” a senior official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS, preferring anonymity.
The power for the satellite over its 8-year lifespan will be generated by deployable solar panels, which opened wide, as planned exactly 100 seconds after the satellite separated from the GSLV launch vehicle.
There were celebrations in the mission control room for a lot more than just the satellite’s successful release into orbit. The mission also tested some modifications made to the GSLV’s cryogenic (third stage engine) and the second stage has been modified to test higher payload capacity of the launch vehicle. The GSLV can currently hold a maximum of 2500 kilograms in satellites.
With a successful GSAT-7A/GSLV-F11 mission, ISRO has completed three successful launches in 35 days, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said as he congratulated the mission team at the post-launch press briefing.
The last remaining part of the mission — orbit raising and final adjustments will be carried out starting 20 December by the tracing team in Bengaluru.