European space consortium Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched India’s first exclusive defence satellite GSAT-7 from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on Friday, giving a major push to the country’s maritime security.
The GSAT-7 is India’s first dedicated spacecraft for Defence applications. GSAT-7 has a lift-off mass of 2,625 kg and is based on ISRO’s 2,500 kg satellite bus with some new technological elements, including the antennae. Its solar arrays generate 2,900 W of electrical power. The satellite’s A108 Ampere-Hour Lithium-Ion battery enables it to function during the eclipse period. The propulsion subsystem has a 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) and thrusters.
The Rs 185-crore GSAT-7, the country’s maiden dedicated spacecraft for defence applications, was launched during a 50-minute launch window which started at 2am, and it was telecast live by Doordarshan. After a flight of almost 34 minutes, the satellite was injected into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) of 249 km perigee (nearest point to earth), 35,929 km apogee (farthest point to earth) and an inclination of 3.5 degree with respect to the equator.
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.