ISRO's GSAT-7A: India’s “Angry Bird” soars high

The mission life of the 2,250kg GSAT-7A, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is eight years. It will provide communication capability to users in Ku-band over the Indian region. (Image: ANI/Screengrab)

Signing off 2018 in style, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Wednesday successfully launched advanced satellite GSAT-7A, which will be exclusively used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to help connect all its assets.

The 2, 250 kg-satellite, on board the GSLV-F11, lifted off from the second launch pad of the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, 100 km from here, at 04.10 pm. Nineteen minutes later, the advanced satellite was injected into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 170.8 km x 39127 km which is very close to the intended orbit.

Dubbed as India’s “Angry Bird”, the satellite, GSAT-7A, would connect all assets of the IAF like planes, air-borne early warning control platforms, drones and ground stations thus enabling the force to build a centralised network. The launch of GSAT-7A would boost the communication capabilities of the IAF, sources said.

With this latest satellite launch, India joins a select group of countries in South Asia to have more than one satellite for its armed forces.

 

 

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. Isro chief Dr K Sivan announced the mission as successful and said the GSAT-7A was the heaviest satellite to have been launched by the GSLV with the indigenously developed cryogenic stage.

“The cryogenic stage of this vehicle has been modified to increase the thrust rate. GSAT-7A is an advanced communication satellite with a Gregorian Antenna and many other new technologies. The testing and realisation of this satellite has been carried out meticulously by Isro team. We have signed off the ear 2018 on a high and positive note,” Dr Sivan said.

Though the Isro was tight-lipped, sources said the satellite would help the IAF interlink its different ground radar stations, airbases and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft. They also said the Ku band capability of the satellite will give a major push for drones.

Along with GSAT-7, the first fully dedicated military communication satellite, the latest launched satellite, which has a life span of eight years, would boost capabilities of the armed forces.

Wednesday’s launch was the seventh mission of the Isro from Sriharikota in 2018 and the space agency is planning to launch Chandrayaan-2 in the first week of January 2019.

 

ALSO READ:  Look back at ISRO missions of 2018

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ISRO's GSAT-7A: India’s “Angry Bird” soars high

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