Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11) successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-7A from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota on Wednesday, December 19.
The GSLV-F11 lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at SDSC at 04:10 pm, carrying the 2250 kg GSAT-7A. Roughly 19 minutes later, the launch vehicle injected GSAT-7A into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 170.8 km x 39127 km which is very close to the intended orbit, ISRO said in a statement.
Known as the “Indian Angry Bird”, the GSAT-7A is meant for the exclusive use of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The GSAT-7A will connect all IAF assets like planes, air-borne early warning control platforms, and drones with each other as well as ground stations. The satellite will also work towards a network-centric warfare capability.
“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,” ISRO chief, Dr Sivan said, NDTVreported.
The GSLV is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle that has three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core constitute the first stage. The second stage is equipped with a high thrust engine that uses liquid fuel.
The cryogenic upper stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle. The GSLV-F11 was the seventh flight carrying indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage.
GSAT-7A to help Indian Air Force
The GSAT-7A will be the first satellite that has been built primarily for the IAF to qualitatively unify its assets and improve common intelligence during operations.
GSAT-7A has been designed to expand the IAF’s communication capabilities. It will do this by connecting several ground radar stations,airbases, and aircrafts that are operated by the IAF. The satellite is also expected to boost some of the IAF’s network-dependant warfare and drone capabilities.
Hailing the launch, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa said that the GSLV-7A would enhance the networking and communication capabilities of the Air Force. “We have several platforms (aircrafts) which have capabilities of communication through satellite. The communication to the platform(aircrafts) through the satellite will be made possible with this launch,”Dhanoa said, as per a report in the Economic Times.
ISRO’s recent launches
On December 5, ISRO’s heaviest and most advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 (Geosynchronous Satellite) was successfully launchedfrom the French Guiana in South America.
GSAT-11’s launch vehicle, Ariane 5 VA-246, lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana, carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites.
“GSAT-11 is the next generation high throughput communication satellite that will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications,” ISRO chief, Dr Sivan, said, NDTVreported.
Earlier, on November 29, ISRO launched its rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) carrying India’s earth observation Hyper-spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS), and 30 foreign satellites from Sriharikota.
The PSLV rocket has emerged as ISRO’s workhorse after successfully launching satellites into a variety of orbits. Across 25 years,the PSLV spacecraft has launched 53 Indian and 269 international customer satellites from 28 countries.
Through its accomplishments, the spacecraft has established itself in the international commercial launch market as one of the most cost-effective launch vehicles for primary, as well as, co-passenger satellites.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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