India has made its final leap in the arena of regional navigation. The Indian Space Research organisation launched the seventh and last navigation satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) — Navic — on Thursday afternoon from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The IRNSS is similar to the American Global Positioning System, widely known as the GPS. The satellite was successfully placed in sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. Unlike GPS, this system will accurately provide the location and time to the Standard Positioning Service (SPS) users in India.
It will be available to users even outside India’s geographical boundary. It can be easily used by anyone 1500 km around our regional border.
When the satellite becomes operational in about a months’ time, the IRNSS would provide services like vehicle tracking and fleet management, disaster management, terrestrial and marine navigation and voice navigation for drivers. It will also be used for military and missile-related operations.
Over the next three to six months, all the satellites would be stabilised as a constellation, their signals and performance will be tested and they would become operational. Two spare satellites are kept ready to be flown in an emergency. It will operate with two navigation bases – Ground Segment and Space Segment. The seven satellites constituting the Space Segment would send the information to the 21 different Ground Segments spread across the country. The ISRO Navigation Center at Byalalu, Karnataka, will operate as the headquarters.
A regional navigation satellite system with just seven spacecraft is the first of its kind. The three global versions of other countries offer worldwide commercial coverage and are operated by their military. The widely known GPS is owned by the United States Air Force; Russian GLONASS and Chinese BeiDou. They have almost 28 to 35 satellites each. The IRNSS is completely under civil domain.
Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi who witnessed the launch via a live video link, congratulated the scientists at ISRO for this great feat.