India launches its first dedicated navigation satellite

One satellite will be launched every six months with the IRNSS expected to be fully operational by 2015.


Afp July 01, 2013
One satellite will be launched every six months with the IRNSS expected to be fully operational by 2015

BANGALORE: India launched the the first stage of its domestic satellite navigation network Sriharikota on Monday which will eventually provide services both to civilians and the military and is similar to the US Global Positioning System.

The first of seven satellites will be carried into space as part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), just months after China inaugurated its own domestic satellite navigation system.

"The (Indian) system has been indigenously built to provide accurate position or location information services to users across the country and up to 1,500 kilometres away from our borders," said Devi Prasad Karnik, director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

A rocket carrying the first satellite is expected to take off at 11:41 pm local time Monday from a site in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

"The 1,425-kilogram satellite will be put into equatorial orbit 20 minutes after lift-off," Karnik told AFP in Bangalore, where the state-run space agency is based.

One satellite will be launched every six months with the IRNSS expected to be fully operational by 2015, the space agency said.

IRNSS will provide commercial and public navigational services such as helping with disaster management as well as movements of India's military, including those of ships and aircraft.

"When fully operational, the system will provide two types of services; standard positioning service and restricted service," Karnik said, after the countdown for the launch began on Saturday.

"The former will be provided to all users while the later will be an encrypted service for authorised users such as the military and security."

Indian officials estimate the project will cost $238.6 million.

India has a well-established space programme which is a source of strong national pride, but its cost has attracted criticism as the government struggles to tackle poverty and child malnutrition.

China's Beidou, or Compass, navigation system started providing services in the region in December, and is expected to offer global coverage by 2020.

Beijing began building the 16-satellite network in 2000 to avoid relying on the US GPS system. Reports in June said Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India, was set to become the fifth Asian country to use the Chinese system.

COMMENTS (78)

B | 9 years ago | Reply

@gps: "Billions of poor people in India'? India's population is just 1.2+ billion. Yes your infrastructure maybe better then Indias, but then we do not beg IMF for USD5.5 billion.

rg | 9 years ago | Reply

@gps: When did you visit these two cities? 20 years back? Have you seen the Delhi and Mumbai today? Delhi already has the seventh largest metro network in the world and state of the art freeways and roads with a well developed BRTS. Mumbai monorail is ready for operations in the month of August with the first phase of the Mumbai Metro opening in October this year. Compare this with one tiny metrobus system in Lahore and guess what?? Blasts, unlike in Karachi, do not happen in Delhi and Mumbai

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