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IRNSS-1A: India’s first ever dedicated Navigation Satellite

July 3rd, 2013

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  • In a landmark journey into a new era of space application, India successfully launched its first dedicated navigation satellite, IRNSS-1A, using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on the night of 1-2 July, 2013.
  • The launch vehicle, PSLV-C22, bearing the 1,425-kg navigation satellite, blasted off the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at the scheduled lift-off time of 11.41 p.m. on 1st July, 2013.
  • About 20 minutes after the lift-off at 12.01 a.m. (2nd July, 2013), the PSLV-C22 completed its task of injecting the IRNSS-1A into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit with a 284-km perigee (nearest point to the Earth) and 20,650 km apogee (farthest point from the Earth) with an inclination of 17.86 degree with respect to the equatorial plane.
  • It was the first time in the history of ISRO that a satellite was launched in the night and mission literally took two days — Monday and Tuesday.
  • This was the 23rd successive successful flight of PSLV and the fourth successful flight of extended version of PSLV.
  • Previously, it has used XLs for the launches of Chandrayaan 1 (PSLV-C11), GSAT-12 (PSLV-C17) and RISAT-1 (PSLV-C19).
  • The PSLV-XL used for the launch does not directly transfer satellites into a geosynchronous orbit.
  • Instead, it puts the satellite into an interim sub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (sub-GTO), from where thrusters are used to push the satellite into geosynchronous orbit.
  • The IRNSS-1A is the first of the proposed seven satellites in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.
  • The satellite has been developed at a cost of 1,600 crore (US$280 million).
  • The satellite is being built at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore.
  • IRNSS-1A has a mission life of 10 years and would provide accurate real-time position and timing information to users in the country as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km around it.
  • The IRNSS-1A, carrying two types of payloads — navigation and ranging payloads.
  • Navigation payload will transmit navigation service signals to users, by operating in L5 (1176.45 MHz) and S band (2492.028 MHz) with a highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock.
  • The ranging payload of a C-band transponder facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.
  • Some of the features of the IRNSS-1A are two solar panels with ultra triple junction solar cells that can generate about 1,660 watts of electrical power, Sun and star sensors as well as gyroscopes to provide orientation.
  • IRNSS-1A is intended to provide terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation services and help in disaster and fleet management.
  • It is to be noted that the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which would be under complete control of the Indian government.
  • The entire IRNSS satellite constellation will compromise of three satellites in geostationary orbits and four in inclined geosynchronous orbits and is to be completed before 2015.
  • IRNSS will be on lines with 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 the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System.
  • The IRNSS will provide two types of services: Standard Positioning Service (SPS) for all users; and Restricted Service (RS), an encrypted service provided only to authorised users (military).
  • As part of the project, ISRO opened a new satellite navigation center within the campus of ISRO Deep Space Network (DSN) at Byalalu near Bangalore in Karnataka on 28 May 2013.

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