India moves closer to having its own satellite navigation system
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Saturday launched its fourth navigational satellite IRNSS-ID from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, making the country inch closer towards having its own Global Positional System (GPS) like the US.
Exactly at 5:19 pm, the rocket — Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C27), 44 metres tall and weighing around 320 tonne — blasted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The satellite was injected into the orbit after 21 minutes.
“We have had a successful launch. I congratulate the entire Isro team for the 28th straight successful PSLV mission, which has put the IRNSS-1D, the fourth of the navigation constellation satellite successfully,” Isro chairman Kiran Kumar said.
This is first launch for Kumar since he took over as the chairman of the space agency.
IRNSS-1D is the fourth out of seven satellites in the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) series after IRNSS-1A, IRNSS-1B and IRNSS-IC. The satellite is one among the seven IRNSS constellation of satellites slated to be launched to provide navigational services to the region.
The fifth of the IRNSS series could be launched in August this year. Once all five of them are in the constellation, India can have its own GPS.
The system would provide two types of services — Standard Positioning Service, which is provided to all users and Restricted Service, which is an encrypted service provided only to authorised users.
The satellite will provide navigation, tracking and mapping services. It will help augment the country’s satellite based navigation system, which is currently under development.