The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to launch its latest satellite today, GSAT-7A. The launch will take place at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 4:10PM today, according to an ANI report. This is the latest in many launches by ISRO this year, and is aimed to put into orbit a communications satellite for military communications.
GSAT-7A weighs 2,250kg, and is largely meant for communications by the defense services of the Indian military. It will add a huge boost to the communications capabilities of the Indian defense establishment. Once the satellite is placed into geostationary orbit, it will allow the IAF to link different ground radar stations, airbases, and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft, as mentioned in an earlier ToI report.
Having a cost of about Rs 500-800 crores, GSAT-7A is expected to stay operational for nine years. With Ku-band transponders and two deployable solar arrays, the satellite weighs 2,250kg and will be launched by the GSLV-MkII launch vehicle. GSAT-7A will be the second satellite dedicated to the military launched by ISRO. In 2013, the agency had launched GSAT-7 (also called ‘Rukmini’) for the Indian Navy.
WATCH: Mars Season 2 Preview
The biggest advantage from GSAT-7A is expected to be for drone operations, since the Navy will be able to control UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) via satellite, instead of relying on ground-based control stations. The satellite is expected to take about two days in total to reach its final destination in orbit. ISRO, earlier this month, launched its heaviest satellite ever – GSAT-11 – weighing nearly 6,000kg.