The GSAT-7A, ISRO said is a sophisticated satellite made to the specifications of the user.
New Delhi: A communications satellite that will help connect all assets of the Indian Air Force and work as a force multiplier, will be the 17th mission and last launch of Indian space agency ISRO for the year 2018. The long-awaited GSAT-7A, which would take-off from Sriharikota this evening, will connect all IAF assets like planes, air-borne early warning control platforms, drones and ground stations, building a centralised network. Along with GSAT-7 and GSAT-6, this new satellite, dubbed the "Indian Angry Bird", will form the band of communications satellite for use of Indian military.
Here are the Top Ten Points in this big science story:
- The 2,250-kg military communications satellite GSAT-7A launches today from Sriharikota, using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II.
- "This is a sophisticated satellite made to the specifications of the user and it can even help connect with handheld devices, flying objects even in remotest of places," ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan told NDTV.
- "This will add a much-needed punch to the arsenal of the Indian Air Force," said Air Vice Marshal (Retd) M. Bahadur, Additional Director-General for the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.
- The Indian Navy already has a satellite dedicated for its own use -- the GSAT-7, also called Rukmini, which was launched in 2013. Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma told NDTV that the GSAT-7 provides the Navy the "real-time secure communications capability" over the Indian Ocean region. This does away with the need to rely on satellites operated by foreign operators, "which are prone to monitoring and eavesdropping," he said.
- The IAF, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) M. Bahadur said, has been waiting for this capability for a long time, as it will add a "powerful redundant layer of communication to the Integrated Air Command and Control System for the air warriors". So far, the IAF has been relying on hiring transponders, which are prone to snooping.
- Recently, the Ministry of Defence cleared a plan to set up a special "Defence Space Agency" - an integrated tri-services unit that will use all Indian space assets for the benefit of the armed forces.
- The GSAT-7A, along with the earlier GSAT-7 and GSAT-6, will form the band of communications satellite for use of the security forces. The country has a battery of earth-imaging CartoSAT series of satellites and a RadarSAT and a Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite that provide inputs to secure India's borders.
- Besides, the country has the Regional Satellite Navigation System or NAVIC -- a constellation of satellites that, among other things, help in precision guidance of missiles.
- The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II -- which is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine -- will be on its 13th flight today. Its last five flights have been successful. The rocket is almost 50 meters high or as much as a 17-floor building. It weighs almost 414 tons -- as much as the combined weight of 80 full-grown elephants.
- The 17th mission for ISRO this year, is also the space agency's 69th rocket launch from Sriharikota.
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