India’s first exclusive satellite for Navy, GSAT-7, was successfully launched by European space consortium Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
GSAT-7 is India’s first dedicated spacecraft for defence applications.
“It has frequency bands that will help marine communications”, an official of Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation, which built the satellite, said.
“It has coverage over India landmass as well as surrounding seas. It’s important from security and surveillance points of view”, the official said on condition of anonymity.
A senior space scientist in the know said: “So far, Navy had limitation from line of sight and ionospheric effects etc. It was thought essential to have an integrated platform for their exclusive use. Earlier, satellite communication in ships was through Inmarsat (a major provider of global mobile satellite communications services). Now, India will have its own set up”
The Rs 185 crore state-of-the-art satellite carries payloads operating in UHF, S, C and Ku bands.
GSAT-7 has 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. Its solar arrays generate 2900 W of electrical power.
A108 Ampere-Hour Lithium-Ion battery enables the satellite to function during the eclipse period. The propulsion subsystem has a 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) and thrusters.
The launch cost for ISRO is around Rs 470 crore, including insurance. ISRO can’t 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’s declared operational.