India’s ISRO launches its IRNSS-1H navigation satellite

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its eighth navigation satellite, IRNSS-1H into orbit onboard a PSLV-C39 rocket at 7:00 pm local time on August 31 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The launch will augment the existing seven satellites of the NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) satellite constellation.

The PSLV-C39 rocket carrying the satellite is 44.4 metres tall and weighs 321 tonnes at the lift-off stage. After around 19 minutes of liftoff, the rocket propelled the satellite to an altitude of around 507 km.

The launch vehicle PSLV-C39 is an ‘XL’ variant of PSLV equipped with six strap-ons each carrying 12 tons of propellant.

IRNSS-1H would be a backup for IRNSS-1A, the first of the seven satellites of the constellation, as its three rubidium atomic clocks on board had stopped functioning. The rubidium atomic clocks are essential for providing accurate location data, and each of the satellites has three such clocks.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent regional system developed by India on par with the US-based GPS, Glonass of Russia, and Galileo developed by Europe.

About Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) :

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NavIC, is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services.

It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km (930 mi) around it, with plans for further extension.

The system at-present consist of a constellation of 7 satellites, with two additional satellites on the ground as standby. The constellation is already in orbit and system is expected to be operational from early 2018 after a system check.

NAVIC will provide two levels of service – Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users such as defence forces. Some of the civilian applications of IRNSS are Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation; Disaster Management; Vehicle tracking and fleet management among others.

Some of the civilian applications of the system are Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation; Disaster Management; Vehicle tracking and fleet management.

There are plans to expand NavIC system by increasing constellation size from 7 to 11.

Study and analysis for Global Indian Navigational System (GINS) were initiated as part of the technology and policy initiatives in the 12th FYP (2012–17).

The system is supposed to have a constellation of 24 satellites, positioned 24,000 km (14,913 mi) above Earth. As of 2013, the statutory filing for frequency spectrum of GINS satellite orbits in international space has been completed.

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