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India launches first GPS-like satellite

India will launch its first navigational satellite — the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS-1A) by PSLV–C 22 — from Sriharikota at 23:41 hours on Monday.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has planned a constellation of seven satellites under the IRNSS.

“Things are progressing well and we have done propellant filling operations of the fourth stage,” Isro chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan said.

The IRNSS-1A is the first of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. The satellite has a lift-off mass of 1,425 kg.

Bearing a similarity to that of America’s Global Positioning System (GPS), the Indian satellite is supposed to transmit data continuously that will allow correctly equipped receivers to establish their location with considerable precision.

The requirement of such a navigation system is driven by the fact that access to Global Navigation Satellite Systems GPS is not guaranteed in hostile situations.

The IRNSS will provide two services, with the standard positioning service open for all the users and the restricted service, encrypted for authorised users.

“Satellite navigation is constantly evolving. IRNSS will b e a regional system, dedicated for usage in Indian main land and 1,500 km around. The accuracy is expected to be 10-20 metres depending on the application,” Dr Radhakrishnan said.


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