Zee Media Bureau
Bangalore: India`s first defence satellite GSAT-7 was successfully launched early today by European Space Agency`s (ESA) Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
"India`s advanced multi-band communication satellite, GSAT-7, was successfully launched at 0200 hrs IST today by the Ariane-5 launch vehicle of Arianespace. Ariane-5 precisely placed GSAT-7 into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) 36,000 km from above the earth after a flight of 34 minutes 25 seconds duration," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
The Indian Navy is the beneficiary of this Rs 185-crore state-of-the art satellite which is expected to be operational by September end.
During August 31-September 4, three orbit-raising operations will be performed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to place the satellite into geostationary orbit.
By September 14, GSAT-7 is planned to be positioned in its orbital slot of 74 deg 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.
According to a senior space scientist, so far the 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, a major provider of global mobile satellite communications services.
The satellite carrying payloads operating in UHF, S, C and Ku bands, had a lift-off mass of 2625 kg and is based on ISRO`s 2500 kg 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.
The launch cost for ISRO is around Rs 470 crore, including insurance. ISRO cannot launch heavy satellites like GSAT-7 as its home-grown GSLV rocket, with indigenous cryogenic stage, is still at works and needs two successful flights before it is declared operational.
In addition to GSAT-7, the Ariane 5 orbited another spacecraft EUTELSAT 25B/Es`hail.
EUTELSAT 25B/Es`hail 1 which rode in the top position of the Ariane 5 payload "stack" separated first, some 27 minutes after liftoff.
(With PTI inputs)
Photo credit: Arianespace