ISRO to expand reach of navigation system globally: New draft policy
All navigation constellations use the same radio frequency bands for broadcasting their navigation signals.
Indian Space Research Organisation plans to expand the reach of its regional satellite-based navigation system globally, and make it interoperable with other systems such as the GPS (global positioning system), according to its new draft policy.
“ISRO/DOS (Department of Space) shall work towards expanding the coverage from regional to global to ensure availability of NavIC standalone signal in any part of the world without relying on other GNSS and aid in wide utilisation of Indian navigation system across the globe,” read the policy document.
It also said, “ISRO/DOS shall put continuous efforts towards ensuring the Indian navigation and augmentation signals are interoperable with other free-to-air navigation.”
All navigation constellations use the same radio frequency bands for broadcasting their navigation signals. The International Telecommunication Union regulated the allocation of frequencies so that there is no interference between signals from different systems. The interoperability of the systems allows a user to seamlessly switch from one constellation system to another and results in improved navigation signal, especially in a situation where an area is obscured from one satellite system.
“The interoperability is an important step, and it is the right time to do it. It took several years for ISRO to complete the navigation constellation. Now chipsets have also started coming in; this was the logical next step. ISRO will have to ensure that the signal and data provided is better than the already existing system so that users have an incentive to switch to NavIC,” said Ajay Lele, senior fellow working on space security and strategic technologies at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), also known as Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC), is a constellation of seven satellites that together provide navigation support over India and 1,500km around it. The first of the seven satellites was launched in 2013, and the constellation was completed in 2018. New smartphones in India running on Qualcomm chipsets released in 2020 can use IRNSS signals for navigation.