Business Standard

India gets its own GPS with successful launch of 7th navigation satellite

The country will not have to depend on a foreign power for military navigation anymore


TE Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

Launch of IRNSS-1G from Sriharikota. Photo: ANI
Launch of IRNSS-1G from Sriharikota. Photo: ANI

India on Thursday entered an exclusive club of five nations that have their own satellite navigation and positioning system with the launch of IRNSS-1G,known as Navic, the country’s seventh navigation satellite. With this, the country will not have to depend on a foreign power for military navigation. With the complete system in place, thearmed forces will be able to find their position accurately in the battleground and direct ammunition and missiles deep into enemy territory, thanks to the extended range of 1,500 km of the system beyond the borders.

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The system can also be used for civilian navigation — aircraft, ships, railways and others. And, terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers, along with visual and voice navigation for drivers. It can also be integrated into phones. Other civilian applications include mapping, disaster management, and vehicle and fleet management, said experts. The prime minister watched the launch from his office through a direct telecast and thanked the Indian Space research Organisation scientists in a 11-minute speech. “Till today, we were relying on other countries for a GPS system. Today, we will decide our path, how to go, where to go and how to reach, we will decide with our own technology. Indian scientists have given a precious gift to the 125 crore people in the country.” IRNSS is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia, and Galileo of Europe, as well as China’s Beidou.

The 44.4-metre and 320-tonne Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C33) which carried the satellite system blasted off at 12.50 pm on Thursday from the Sriharikota space station, about 100 km from this city. Just over 20 minutes into the flight, at an altitude of 497 km above the earth's surface, the satellite was separated and injected into transfer orbit. Its life is expected to be about 12 years. Till date, India had launched six regional navigational satellites (IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, ID,1E and 1F), to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. Though the full system comprises nine satellites (seven in orbit and two on the ground as standby), navigation services could be made operational with four. Each satellite costs about Rs 150 crore and the PSLV-XL version rocket about Rs 130 crore. The seven rockets would entail an outlay of Rs 910 crore.

According to ISRO, with the operationalisation of six IRNSS satellites, the proof of concept of an independent regional navigation satellite system over India has been demonstrated for the targeted position accuracy of better than 20 metres over 24 hours of the day.

  • ndia enters a club of 5 countries that operate their own satellite navigation system. With the successful launch, the country will not have to depend on a foreign power for military navigation anymore
  • Constellation of seven satellites (3 in geostationary and 4 in geosynchronous orbit) will provide navigational services to South Asia
  • It has both commercial and strategic applications. It caters to the needs of civil aviation and for positioning, navigation and timing
  • It would power terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, terrestrial navigation for hikers and travellers, disaster management, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture, and visual and voice navigation for drivers

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First Published: Fri, April 29 2016. 00:40 IST