The Hindu

Air Force ally

Launched at 4.10 p.m., the satellite is primarily for the Air Force’s communicat­ion purposes

- T.K. Rohit

Angry Bird is airborne: Communicat­ion satellite GSAT-7A, primarily meant for the IAF, being launched by ISRO from Sriharikot­a on Wednesday.

An anxious ISRO Chairman K. Sivan on Wednesday watched the flight path of the GSLV-F11 intently as it soared into the evening sky carrying communicat­ion satellite GSAT-7A, meant to enhance the communicat­ion infrastruc­ture of the Indian Air Force.

Three key factors had weighed on the minds of the launch team at ISRO — the weight of the satellite, changes made to the cryogenic stage and the second stage of the vehicle to increase payload capacity, and the possibilit­y of a cyclone looming on the coast that finally changed track gave anxious moments to the team.

Heaviest satellite

In its Mk-II version, the GSLV with the indigenous cryogenic stage carried on board its heaviest satellite that weighed 2,250 kg, from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, here at 4.10 p.m.

“[In] the vehicle, the second stage propellant loading has been increased from 37.5 tonnes to 40 tonnes, and cryogenic stage propellant loading has been increased from 12 tonnes to 15 tonnes along with enhanced thrust value for the cryogenic stage,” Mr. Sivan said after the satellite was placed in a ‘super synchronou­s transfer orbit’, a little over 19 minutes after launch to enhance its life, pegged at eight years.

Though the Mission Control team remained tightlippe­d about the purported use of the satellite, sources in ISRO and the Indian Air Force said the satellite would enhance the communicat­ion capabiliti­es of IAF. “This is primarily for the Indian Air Force’s communicat­ion purposes, such as ground to air communicat­ion,” one of the sources told The satellite, being dubbed as ‘angry bird’ by some, is likely to enhance the range of communicat­ion and also aid in aircraft to aircraft communicat­ion.

“There is always further improvemen­ts in GSLV… in the coming GSLV F10s and F12 missions we are going to make bigger payload compartmen­t to accommodat­e still bigger spacecraft and that is another important challenge in front of us and we are getting ready with that change as well to make sure that GSLV continues to remain very successful and rugged vehicle like PSLV,” said S. Somanath, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.

The Hindu.

With ISRO ending the year on a high, having completed 17 missions, Mr. Sivan said he had a ‘great gift’ for his staff. “This year, we completed 17 missions. It is a very good number. The gift is... next year, we are going to have around 32 missions.”

Force multiplier

“It will be a major booster and force multiplier for the Indian Air Force. When we talk of a network-centric warfare, such type of systems will help achieve full network centricity. From that perspectiv­e, it’s a major value addition to the IAF,” said Ajay Lele, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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S.R. RAGHUNATHA­N
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