India’s first defence satellite GSAT-7 was successfully launched on August 30 by Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket, the same vehicle used to launch EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1. Seven minutes after the joint-owned satellite was deployed, India’s maiden dedicated spacecraft for defence applications was released, giving a major push to the country’s maritime security.
The Indian navy is to be the user of the multi-band, Indian-built communication spacecraft, expected to be operational by the end of September. After a flight of almost 34 minutes, the GSAT-7 was injected into a geosynchronous transfer orbit and will make its way to 74 degrees East by September 14, when the satellite’s communication transponders will be switched on.
According to a senior space scientist, the India’s navy had limitation from line of sight and ionospheric effects, among others, as far as space-based communications were concerned. It was thought essential to have an integrated platform for the navy’s exclusive use. Earlier, satellite communication in ships was through Inmarsat.
The satellite carrying payloads operating in UHF, S, C and Ku bands, had a lift-off mass of 2,625kg and is based on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) 2,500kg satellite bus with some new technological elements, including the antennae.
According to ISRO, 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.