The satellite is now very close to its final position in the geostationary orbit, which is located at an altitude of around 35,786 km from Earth. The satellite is currently between 35,800 and 36,092 kilometres away, and will be moved in a final orbital manoeuver to its final position, ISRO said in a statement.
ISRO has built and used the propulsion system, or thrusters, on GSAT-7A to perform four such maneuvers so far.
GSAT-7A, a satellite built by ISRO for the Indian Air Force, was launched on a GSLV-Mk2.1 rocket (GSAT-F11) on 19 December from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota.
The satellite was injected into a sun-synchronous orbit, which is roughly 2000 kilometres higher than the geosynchronous transfer orbit, in which most satellites are released by launch vehicles to be moved and positioned in low-Earth orbit.
This was a deliberate effort to save fuel on the GSAT-7A and enhance its life-span as much as possible beyond the 8 years it was designed to last.
The GSAT-7A satellite: All you need to know
GSAT-7A is ISRO’s 35th communications satellite built exclusively for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army.
ISRO’s 2.25-ton GSAT-7A is designed to work in the Ku-band frequency and houses a powerful ‘I-2K’ bus, which functions as the satellite’s communication hub or service module.
The satellite will expand the communication capabilities of the IAF in different ways.
First, GSAT-7A will allow cross-connectivity between different ground radar stations, airbases and Airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft like the Beriev A-50 Phalcon.
The satellite will also boost the air force’s network-dependent warfare capabilities, enhancing its abilities to operate globally.
It is also expected to give a big push to drone operations in the Indian military by helping the Navy reduce its reliance on ground-based control stations and switch to satellite-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), that offer better range and endurance, industry experts told Business Standard.
GSLV-F11 / GSAT-7A Mission
GSLV-F11 successfully launched GSAT-7A, ISRO’s 39th communication satellite, on December 19, 2018, at 1610 hrs (IST) from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
GSLV-F11 is the 13th flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and its 7th flight with indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).
GSLV – F11 is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core form the first stage. The second stage of the vehicle is equipped with a high thrust engine using liquid fuel. The Cryogenic Upper Stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle.
GSAT-7A with a lift-off mass of 2250 kg, is a geostationary satellite carrying communication transponders in Ku-band. The Satellite is built to provide communication capability to the users over the Indian region.