India has successfully squeezed a seventh launch into the year, using an upgraded version of the country's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicleto place a massive communications satellite into orbit for the Indian Air Force on Wednesday, according to Space.com report.
That communications satellite, called the GSAT-7A, weighs nearly 5,000 lbs. 2250 kilograms and will allow the Indian Air Force to manage all of its space communications itself, rather than paying for satellite services, The Times of India said in a report.
"This mission, both in the launch vehicle as well as the satellite, there are so many firsts," K. Sivan, chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told Spaceflight Now.
The vehicle blasted off from India's spaceport, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, at 4:10pm local time and the satellite deployed about 19 minutes into flight.
Over the next few days, the ISRO will nudge the satellite into its final orbit, according to a statement from the Indian space agency.
The satellite is designed to last eight years in orbit and is India's second military-communication satellite. The country is in the process of establishing an agency to unite space assets across all branches of the military.
Today's launch used a bulked-up version of India's rocket, which adds an extra engine to the second stage of the rocket. The rocket also currently carries an Indian-designed cryogenic third stage, which took its seventh flight today.