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Going Sky-High: India Successfully Deploys Very Own GPS-Like System

Sputnik News

15:24 28.04.2016

India has successfully launched and put into orbit its seventh and final navigation satellite of the regional navigation system - IRNSS-1G.

Exactly at 12:50 p.m. a 320-ton and 44.4-meter-tall rocket lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Just over 20 minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected its sole passenger at an altitude of 488.9 km. Soon after this, the satellite's solar panels were deployed. The satellite is being controlled by the Mission Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka state.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched the launch of the navigation satellite, congratulated scientists at India's ISRO space agency and said the system would make India independent in navigation.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to America's GPS, Russia's Glonass and Europe's Galileo. Apart from the civilian applications, the IRNSS will also be used to meet defense needs.

The navigation system will provide accurate geolocation information to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. The IRNSS includes nine satellites, two on the ground and seven in orbit. This makes the system unique – other systems in the world have more than 20 satellites, Indian space agency officials told IANS. It may take three to four months for the space agency to check and cross-check all the systems before IRNSS can be declared operational, according to ISRO officials. After IRNSS passes all the tests, India will no longer be dependent on other platforms.

The first satellite of the system, IRNSS-1A, was launched in July 2013. Each satellite costs about $22 million and rockets cost around $19 million each. The total project is estimated at around $211 million.


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