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 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.
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