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ISRO launches sixth IRNSS navigation satellite

India close to achieving ambitious target.

By Dileep ThekkethilISRO-PSLV-liftoff

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched IRNSS-1F, the sixth satellite of the seven IRNSS payloads that will make the country self-reliant on satellite-based navigation system.

When India succeeds in sending all seven Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System into orbit, she will become the fifth country in the world to possess own navigational system.

The other satellite navigation systems that are currently in the orbit belong to USA (GPS), Russia (GLONASS), China (Beidou), and the European Union (GALILEO). Out of the four navigational systems, only GPS and GLONASS are fully operational.

Thursday’s launch of the IRNSS-1F carried two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload weighing a total of 1,425 Kg.

Soon after India’s most successful, Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle (PSLV C32) ejected the IRNSS into the orbit, the ISRO ground station in Sriharikota monitoring broke into rapturous applause and handshakes.

A.S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO chairman said soon after the successful launch, “The sixth navigation satellite has been put into orbit successfully. The seventh navigation satellite is expected to be launched sometime next month.”

In the coming two days, the satellite will be raised to its home slot through a series of orbit manoeuvres.

The constellation of seven indigenously made satellites of ISRO has a lifespan of 12 years and the final satellite is scheduled for lift off sometime next month.

The satellites are designed to transmit navigation service signals to the users through C-band transponder which are automatic receivers and transmitters for radio signals. When the satellites start working, they will be able to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km.

The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013, the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014, the third on October 2014, the fourth in March 2015, and the fifth in January this year.

According to ISRO, three of seven satellites will be located in the orbital slots of geostationary orbit whereas the remaining four will be located in geosynchronous orbits with the required inclination and equatorial crossings in two different planes. All the satellites of the constellation are being configured identically. The satellites are configured with I-1K Bus to be compatible for launch onboard PSLV.

The navigational service offered by IRNSS will be known as Standard Positioning Service (SPS). It also offers a Restricted Service, which is an encrypted service to authorized users.