The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch the military communication satellite GSAT-7A from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh this evening. GSAT-7A satellite will be the space agency's last mission for this year and is expected to add a new space-based dimension to the way the Indian Air Force interlinks, operates and communicates with its aircraft as they fly and with command centres on ground, according to multiple sources. This along with the earlier launched GSAT-7 and GSAT-6 will form the band of a communications satellite for use of the security forces. The GSLV-F11 will inject the GSAT-7A into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), according to ISRO. GSLV-F11 is ISRO's fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages.
GSAT-7A is the first communication satellite built primarily for the Airforce and will unify its assets and improve combined, common intelligence during operations. It will also enhance the force’s global operations and its network-centric welfare capabilities. It will also support aerial activities of the Army and the Navy where required, according to some reports.
Weighing as much as 2,250 kg, the GSAT-7A will be launched using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II. The GSAT-7A is expected to have the Ku-band transponders that will enable superior real-time aircraft-to-aircraft communication and two deployable solar arrays onboard.
The countdown for the launch of communication satellite GSAT-7A on-board GSLV-F11 will begin at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota tomorrow. Launch scheduled on 19 December. Updates to follow. #ISROMissions pic.twitter.com/BEIs9EUfXC— ISRO (@isro) December 17, 2018
The GSAT-7A will also help Navy in the drone operations and will help them reduce the reliance on on-ground control stations and take satellite-control of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). It would also enhance by many times the coverage now provided by ground communication systems such as radars and stations of the Army.
“It will be a very important step or jump towards what we call network-centric operations or warfare. It will enable communication and data linking at forward places and air defence centres. Pilots can communicate much better with headquarters while they fly. Headquarters can receive data in real time,” the Hindu quoted a military veteran as saying.
"GSLV F11 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," the space agency said on its website.
This year, Isro launched GSAT-11 on December 5 on a European vehicle from French Guinea’s Kourou, GSAT-29 on November 14 on its GSLV-MkIII vehicle and the ill-fated GSAT-6A on March 29 from Sriharikota. The launch of Chandrayaan-2 and the PSLV-C44 remote-sensing satellite launch are among the seven missions lined up in 2019.