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ISRO launches third navigation satellite

IRNSS IC satellite

IRNSS IC satelliteSriharikota (AP): Scripting another success in India’s space programme, ISRO today launched its third navigation satellite IRNSS 1C on board its PSLV rocket from here in the wee hours, moving closer to setting up its own navigation system on par with the GPS of the US.

IRNSS 1C is part of the series of seven satellites Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch to put in place what is called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. Today’s launch marked the first time that India has conducted four orbital launches in a year.

Lifting off from the First Launch Pad of the spaceport exactly at 1.32 AM, the rocket painted a golden brush of flames in the night sky and 20 minutes later successfully placed the 1,425.4 kg weighing satellite in the intended orbit.

ISRO had aimed to launch the satellite into a sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a 284 km perigee (nearest point to Earth) and 20,650 km apogee (farthest point to Earth) with an inclination of 17.86 degree with respect to the equatorial plane.

“PSLV C26 has precisely placed IRNSS 1C in its orbit,” ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said, describing the successful launch.

Being developed by India, IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in the country as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area.

The IRNSS system, which would ultimately have seven satellites and ground stations, was targeted to be completed by 2015 at a total cost of Rs 1420 crores, ISRO sources said.

Present in the Mission Control Room was Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh, who congratulated the scientists on the successful launch.

“I thank you for making me witness this historic moment. As India moves forward to become a world leader, I am sure in the 21 century, any leadership role should be based on scientific foundation and I am glad in the area of space we have emerged as world leaders,” he said.

This was the seventh time ISRO was using an XL version of the PSLV rocket for its missions.

The mission life of the satellite is 10 years. The launch of PSLV 26 carrying IRNSS 1C was actually scheduled on October 10 but the countdown was postponed following some technical reasons.

The fully deployed IRNSS system would consist of three satellites in geostationary orbit and four in inclined geosynchronous orbit, about 36,000 km altitude above the earth.

The first two satellites in the series — IRNSS 1A and IRNSS 1B were launched in July last year and April this year respectively.

With GSAT-14 launched in January, IRNSS-1B in April and SPOT-7 in June, today’s was the fourth orbital launch this year.

The IRNSS navigational system would provide two types of services — Standard Positioning Service, which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service, which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users.

IRNSS’ applications include terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, navigation aide for hikers and travellers, visual and voice navigation for drivers.

While India is developing its navigation system, a select group of countries have their own navigation systems — Russia’s Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), European Union’s Galileo (GNSS), China’s BeiDou Satellite Navigation System and Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System.

The ISRO chairman also said GSLV Mark III, one of Indian Space Research Organisation’s biggest projects this year, which would test India’s ability to launch four plus ton payload, would be launched within the next 45 days.

“After GSLV Mark III launch, we have GSAT 16 launch from French Guyana, which will carry 48 transponders. Next is the launch of IRNSS 1D in December,” he added.


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