Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. II (GSLV-F11) successfully launched the GSAT-7A military communications satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota on Dec. 9.
The GSLV-F11 lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at SDSC at 04:10 pm IST, carrying 2250 kg GSAT-7A and about 19 minutes later, injected GSAT-7A into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 170.8 km x 39127 km which is very close to the intended orbit.
The satellite will be primarily used for military applications and will augment the existing communication capabilities of satellites utilised by the Indian Air Force. GSAT-7A will be reportedly similar to Indian Navy’s GSAT-7 satellite.
GSAT-7A will enable IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, ground airbase and Airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft such as Beriev A-50 Phalcon and DRDO AEW&CS. The satellite will enhance Network-centric warfare capabilities of the Indian Air Force and therefore enhance its global operations. The satellite will also be used by Indian Army’s Aviation Corps for its helicopters and UAV’s operations.
Soon after the separation of the satellite, ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-7A. The satellite’s health parameters are normal. In the next few days, scientists at MCF will perform various orbit-raising manoeuvres, using GSAT-7A’s onboard propulsion system, to place the satellite in its final geostationary orbit.
“In the last 35 days, ISRO has successfully launched three missions from SDSC starting with GSLV MkIII-D2 on November 14, PSLV-C43 on November 29 and finally GSLV-F11 today. GSLV has successfully injected GSAT-7A into a super synchronous transfer orbit,” said K. Sivan, Chairman of ISRO.
He said GSAT-7A is the heaviest satellite being launched by GSLV with an indigenously developed cryogenic stage.
GSLV is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core form the first stage. The second stage is equipped with a high thrust engine using liquid fuel. The cryogenic upper stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle. GSLV-F11 was the seventh flight carrying indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage.
GSAT-7A is the 39th Indian communication satellite of ISRO to provide services to the users in Ku-band over the Indian region. Most of the functional requirements of the communication payloads and the other systems have been derived from ISRO’s earlier geostationary INSAT/GSAT satellites.
Today’s launch was the 7th mission of ISRO from SDSC in the year 2018. This was the 13th flight of GSLV-MkII.