On April 28, 2016, ISRO accomplished the task of developing the country’s own navigation system with the successful launch of IRNSS-1G, the last in the series of seven navigation satellites. With this achievement, India has carved its own space in the league of five nations that has an indigenous navigation system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the system would be known as known as Navigation with Indian Constellation. Mr. Modi watched the launch of the satellite from the ISRO office in New Delhi and congratulated its scientists.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the seventh rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and it was successfully placed in orbit. With this launch, India no longer will have to be dependent on another nation for military navigation.
Background and Its uses
The plan to launch IRNSS program was finalized around 17 years ago in 1999 by the Indian Space agency when the U.S. Government declined to share GPS information that could have helped the Indian Army precisely locate Pakistani troop positions during the Kargil war. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System comprises of seven satellites that will be able to provide the navigation system with much better accuracy and targeted position. It is designed to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and region extending to 1,500 km around India.
The system will be used for terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, precise timing, mapping and geodetic data capture and will provide terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers, visual and voice navigation for drivers.
What is meant by the Indian GPS ?
Indian GPS is officially known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or Navigation with Indian Constellation (NAVIC) as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the launch. The system consists of a total of 9 satellites. Seven in the orbit and two on the ground as stand-bys. With the launch of this, India has joined the club of 5 elite nations that use their own navigation system. Five countries are : US which has 24 satellites, Glonass of Russia (24 satellites), Galileo of Europe (27 satellites) and China’s Beidou (35 satellites).
As of now ISRO’s mission control center will work on aligning the newly launched IRNSS-G1. The tuning and synchronization of all seven satellites with the ground control center along with their relative positioning will be done for three or four months. Once the tests are successful, ISRO will declare the GPS system open for manufacturers and developers to work on. The navigational satellite system will become fully operational by mid-2016.
Achievements of ISRO
ISRO launched sixth navigation satellite IRNSS-1F on March 10, the other five being IRNSS-1A on July 1, 2013, IRNSS-1B (April 4, 2014), IRNSS-1C (October 16, 2014), IRNSS-1D (March 28, 2015) and IRNSS-1E (January 20, 2016). As per the ISRO officials, the total cost of all the seven satellites was Rs 1,420 crore and it has a 12-year mission life.
India has been gaining recognition worldwide as a low-cost option for sending satellites into orbit. In 2014, it put a satellite into the orbit of Mars, becoming the first country in Asia to reach the red planet.
India’s space minister Jitendra Singh said that the country also plans to launch a communications satellite that will provide enhanced bandwidth connectivity to rural areas. The satellite will be launched toward the end of 2016 or the first quarter of 2017.