India’s first military satellite GSAT-7 launched
India’s first defence satellite, GSAT-7, was successfully launched by European space consortium Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana recently, giving a major push to the country’s maritime security.
Indian Navy will be the user of the multiband home-built communication satellite, expected to be operational by September end. The ` 185-crore GSAT-7 is the country’s maiden dedicated spacecraft for defence applications.
After a flight of almost 34 minutes, the satellite was injected into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) of 249 km perigee (near- est point to earth), 35,929 km apogee (farthest point to earth) and an inclination of 3.5 degree with respect to the equator. During August 31-September 4, three orbit-raising operations will be performed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to place the satellite into geostationary orbit of 36,000 km above the equator. By September 14, GSAT-7 is planned to be positioned in its orbital slot of 74 degree East longitude and subsequently the satellite’s communication transponders will be switched on.
The frequency bands of GSAT-7 will help space-based marine communications. It has coverage over India landmass as well as surrounding seas. “It’s important from security and surveillance points of view”, an ISRO official said.
GSAT-7 is an advanced communication satellite to provide wide range of service spectrum from low bit rate voice to high bit rate data communication. Its payload is designed to provide communication capabilities to users over a wide oceanic region including the Indian land mass. The launch cost for ISRO is around ` 470 crore, including insurance.