GSAT-7, India's first 'military' satellite, launched successfully

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India's first 'military' satellite (GSAT-7) was successfully put into the geosynchronous transfer orbit early Friday by the European Space Agency's (ESA) heavy rocket, authorities said.

It was launched in the early hours from its spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana off the Pacific coast.

"The advanced multi-band communication satellite was deployed in the transfer orbit, around 36,000 km from above the earth, by the Ariane-5 rocket of the ESA's Arianespace 34 minutes after its lift-off at 2 a.m. IST," the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement Bangalore.

The Indian space agency's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, about 180 km from Bangalore, acquired signals from the 2.5-tonne dedicated spacecraft five minutes before it was separated from the rocket.

The cost of the launch onboard the commercial Arianespace rocket is Rs.470 crore.

According to defence experts, the satellite will enable the navy to acquire Blue Water capabilities and it need not depend on foreign satellites like Inmarsat, which provides communication services to its ships.

The spacecraft is equipped with transponders in Ku band, S band, C band and UHF (ultra high frequency) band to improve the maritime communications among the Indian Navy's warships.

"The satellite's solar panels were deployed soon after it was placed in the orbit for generating 2,900 watt power. Initial checks have indicated its health is normal," the ISRO statement noted.

The MCF will raise the Rs.185-crore satellite's orbit by firing its 440 Newton liquid apogee motors from its propulsion subsystem Saturday to place it in the intended geostationary orbit by Sep 4.

A 108 Ampere-Hour Lithium-Ion battery enables the satellite to function even during the eclipse period.

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