The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch its year-ender – the GSAT-7A using communication satellite, as the countdown has begun for the propulsion scheduled at 4:10 PM from Sriharikota, today.

The GSAT-7A will be carried by ISRO’s trusted Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle aka GSLV-Mk II from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Marking the 13th GSLV platform this year, the ISRO will launch the GSAT-7A, weighing 2,250kg to provide communication capabilities in the Ku-band for the armed forces. This will be ISRO’s 39th communication satellite, and just like its predecessor GSAT-7 which is dedicated to the Indian Navy, today’s launch will provide service solely to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Built to last for at least 8 years, the military satellite is run by deployable solar panels and stored in batteries and will be completely operated by the air force to interlink ground radar stations, air bases and airborne early warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft. It is capable of connecting with handheld devices, flying objects even in remotest of places and widen the reach of the Indian armed forces. Along with dedicated support to the air force, the GSAT-7A will also help in controlling Indian Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle operations.

The IAF, Air vice Marshal (Retd) M. Bahadur believes that the successful launch of the satellite will add a “powerful redundant layer of communication to the Integrated Air Command and Control System for the air warriors”, as the air force had been relying on hiring transponders, which are prone to snooping and errors. So today’s lift-off of the 50 metres tall (as much as a 17 storey building) GSLV-Mk II will prove to be revolutionary for the armed forces, marking the final launch for ISRO in 2018.