India has launched communication satellite GSAT-7A on board the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11).

Lifted off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, GSLV-F11 carried and injected the 2,250kg GSAT-7A into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).

GSAT-7A is the 39th Indian communication satellite launched by GSLV, which is the fourth-generation launch vehicle with three stages.

The satellite will improve communication systems of the Indian Air Force.

GSLV-F11 was the ‘seventh flight carrying indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage’ and the 13th flight of GSLV-MkII.

“Scientists at the ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka, India, will now use GSAT-7A’s on-board propulsion system to inject the satellite in its final intended orbit.”

ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan said: “In the last 35 days, ISRO has successfully launched three missions from SDSC starting with GSLV MkIII-D2 on 14 November, PSLV-C43 on November 29 and finally GSLV-F11 today. GSLV has successfully injected GSAT-7A into a super-synchronous transfer orbit.”

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Launch proceedings were overseen by mission director Mohan M and satellite director Killedar Pankaj Damodar.

Scientists at the ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in the Indian state of Karnataka will now use GSAT-7A’s on-board propulsion system to inject the satellite in its final intended orbit.

Sivan added: “The cryogenic stage of this vehicle has been modified to increase the thrust rate. GSAT-7A is an advanced communication satellite with a Gregorian Antenna and many other new technologies. The testing and realisation of this satellite has been carried out meticulously by Ithe SRO team. We have signed off the year 2018 on a high and positive note.”

In June, India’s Union Cabinet approved $1.6bn funding for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and GSLV rocket programmes.