India Successfully Launches IRNSS-1C Navigation Satellite

After the successful launch of the third satellite with its rocket in a copy book style, India has moved closer towards its aim of having its own navigation system on Thursday.

India reached closer to a select group of space-faring nations having such a system with the successful launch of third of the seven satellites, IRNSS-IC, planned under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) early Thursday.

India is just a satellite away from its dream of having its own satellite navigation system. The rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C26(PSLV-C26), standing about 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 320 ton, blasted off from the first launch pad here at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 1.32 a.m.

The expendable rocket with fierce orange flames at its tail tore into the night skies with its luggage, the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1C (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System-1C) satellite. At around 20 minutes into the flight, the PSLV-C26 spat out IRNSS-1C at an altitude of around 500 km above the earth.

After the successful ejection of satellite, scientists at the mission control centre seemed relieved and started clapping happily. "India’s third navigation satellite is up in the orbit" ISRO chairman K.Radhakrishnan said post launch.

Soon after the ejection into the orbit, the satellite’s solar panels were deployed. The satellite has two kinds of payloads – navigation and ranging. The navigation payload would transmit navigation service signals to the users.

A highly accurate rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload. The ranging payload consists of C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

The satellite control was taken over by the Mission Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka. The MCF will manage the satellite’s orbit raising operations firing the on-board motors till it is placed in final orbit.
The satellite with a life span of around 10 years is the third of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS.

The navigational system, developed by India, is designed to provide accurate position information service to users within the country and up to 1,500 km from the nation’s boundary line. The system is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 metres in the primary service area, is similar to the global positioning system of the US, Glonass of Russia, Galileo of Europe, China’s Beidou or the Japanese Quasi Zenith Satellite System.

The system will be used for terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture, visual and voice navigation for drivers and others.

While the ISRO is silent on the navigation system’s strategic application, it is clear that the IRNSS will be used for defence purposes as well.

The fourth navigation satellite is expected to be launched this December, said Jitendra Singh, minister of state for Prime Minister’s Office. The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013 and the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014. Both have already started functioning from their designated orbital slots.

(With inputs from IANS)

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