India’s First Navy Satellite GSAT 7 Launched Successfully
ISRO’s first defence satellite GSAT 7 / INSAT – 4F is expected to significantly improve India’s maritime security and intelligence gathering.
GSAT 7, the country’s first advanced and full – fledged military communications satellite, was launched in the early hours of Friday from the Kourou space port of French Guiana space in South America. The multi – band spacecraft, to be used exclusively by Indian Navy, was put in orbit on a European Ariane 5 rocket in 30th August, 2013 at 2.00 AM, Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ) said after the launch. It is also the last of ISRO’s fourth – generation series of seven satellites.
GSAT 7 / INSAT – 4F is expected to significantly improve the country’s maritime security and intelligence gathering in a wide swathe on either coasts of the Indian Ocean region.
About 34 minutes after take – off, Ariane – 5 placed the spacecraft precisely in the intended temporary oval or geosynchronous transfer orbit ( GTO ) in space.
In a post-launch address at Kourou, ISRO Satellite Centre Director S.K. Shivakumar said the satellite would be functionally readied by September – end. Scientists at the Master Control Facility in Hassan, about 100 km from Bangalore, unfurled the power – generating solar panel of the satellite within a few minutes of its being placed in space. Dr. Shivakumar said payload operations would begin in a week.
ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan is at Hassan for the first of the three orbit manoeuvres around 2.00 AM on Saturday.
“Initial checks have indicated normal health of the satellite. The present orbit will be gradually increased to an altitude of 36,000 km and placed in a geostationary [ Earth – fixed ] orbit by 4th September,” ISRO said.
Improved Sea Communication
Built to the Navy’s multiple-band requirements as a platform to safely link up its ships, submarines, aircraft and command from land in real time, it is also the country’s first full – fledged military communication satellite. Until now the defence forces have used minuscule capacities on ISRO’s various INSAT / GSAT satellites.
For the Navy, this is part of a long – term modernisation plan involving the use of satellites and information technology. In recent years successive Chiefs of Naval Staff have identified space – based communications as the core of the Navy’s futuristic network – centric operations.
Around 2014 – 2015, it will be followed by GSAT 7A, some of whose resources the Navy is said to share with the Air Force and the Army.
GSAT 7 is said to have cost ₹ 950 crore, almost half of it for the foreign launch and part funded by the Force in an underplayed civil – defence partnership.
According to information gathered from two satellite communication experts, the UHF has never been used until now in an Indian communication satellite; this gives the user ( Navy ) a long sweep of intelligence network, or what is called COMINT / ELINT ( communication intelligence / electronic intelligence, ) on moving non – land platforms like ships.
The Ku band allows high – density data transmission, including voice and video. The 3,000 – watt power on board is also higher than normal as it has to communicate with smaller and mobile — meaning not land-based — terminals, according to one of them. Special ground infrastructure has also been put in place for GSAT 7.
Arianespace, the launch service company, said GSAT-7 was the 17th ISRO satellite to be lifted to space on its Ariane vehicle. Its vehicle for Friday, VA215, released the national satellite minutes after a 6 tonne Qatar satellite called EUTELSAT 25B / Es’hail 1. ISRO first used an Ariane launcher for its 1981 experimental satellite named APPLE.
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