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 19 December.
The GSLV-F11 lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at SDSC at 04:10 pm IST, carrying 2250 kg GSAT-7A and about 19 minutes later, injected GSAT-7A into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 170.8 km x 39127 km which is very close to the intended orbit.
An ISRO team lead by Chairman Dr K Sivan, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) S Somanath, U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) Director P Kunhikrishnan, Space Applications Centre (SAC) Director D K Das, SDSC Director S Pandian, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) Dr V Narayanan and ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) Director T Mookiah witnessed the launch.
Mission Director Mohan M and Satellite Director Killedar Pankaj Damodar oversaw the launch proceedings.
Soon after the separation of the satellite, ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-7A.The satellite’s health parameters are normal.
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. This satellite will serve the Indian Air Force.
In his post-launch televised address, Dr Sivan said the team has achieved another spectacular milestone by launching GSAT-7A.
“In the last 35 days, ISRO has successfully launched three missions from SDSC starting with GSLV MkIII-D2 on November14, PSLV-C43 on November 29 and finally GSLV-F11 today. GSLV has successfully injected GSAT-7A into a super synchronous transfer orbit,” Dr Sivan said.
He said GSAT-7A is the heaviest satellite being launched by GSLV with an 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 year 2018 on a high and positive note,” Dr Sivan added.
GSLV is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core form the first stage. The second stage is equipped with a high thrust engine using liquid fuel. The cryogenic upper stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle. GSLV-F11 was the seventh flight carrying indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage.
GSAT-7A is the 39th Indian communication satellite of ISRO to provide services to the users in Ku-band over the Indian region. Most of the functional requirements of the communication payloads and the other systems have been derived from ISRO’s earlier geostationary INSAT/GSAT satellites.
The launch is ISRO’s 7th mission from SDSC in the year 2018. This was the 13th flight of GSLV-MkII.