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India Gears Up to Launch Fourth IRNSS Navigation Satellite in March 9-15 Window

Riding high on its Mangalyaan and re-entry module success, India is gearing up to launch its next scheduled satellite IRNSS-1D during the launch window from March 9 to March 15.

With this launch, India will be moving closer to its own satellite navigation system and three more IRNSS satellites will complete the circle of full-fledged own satellite navigation system in the country, besides two on ground as stand-by satellites.

“The launch is tentatively planned for March 9 evening around 6.35pm but final green signal for the launch will be given days ahead of the satellite launch,” confirmed M.Y.S. Prasad, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, to IANS. He further informed that the satellite has been mated with the rocket after tests and that the heat shield will be closed on Monday, March 2.

File Photo of IRNSS-1C launched last year with PSLV-C26 (ISRO Photo)

The entire system will be put through a full test on Tuesday, March 3 and the rocket will be moved to the second launch pad on March 4, Prasad said. Then, the space agency’s Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) will have to give final clearance for launch of the rocket and the board is scheduled to meet on March 6.

Once the clearance is given by the board, the 59 -hour countdown will begin on Sturday, March 7. Depending on the weather, wind and atmospheric studies the PSLV-27 carrying the 4th IRNSS-1D will lift off on March 9 or next Monday.

The fourth of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) satellite-IRNSS-1D, weighing 1,425 kg, would be put in geosynchronous orbit of the Earth by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-27.

With a lifespan of 10 years, the commissioning of IRNSS-ID will make India join the select group of countries having their own satellite navigation system along with the US, Russia, China and Japan as members.

Built at a cost of Rs.150 crore, the satellite will take off on the PSLV-27 that costs anothr Rs.130 crore. In all the IRNSS series project costs around Rs.910 crore for 7 satellites and the other three satellites will also be sent up by the end of this year, according to ISRO.

The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013, the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014 and the third on October 16, 2014. With the fourth one on March 9, three more will be launched in quick success this year itself, as part of ISRO plan to launch 10 satellites in 2015.

The IRNSS satellites provide unencrypted standard positioning service to the public and encrypted service to restricted government and research agencies. Of the 7 satellites to be launched under the project, three will be in geo-stationary and four in inclined geosynchronous orbit. Two more satellites will be on the ground as stand-by. All the IRNSS satellites are configured with I-1K Bus to be compatible for launch on-board PSLV, said ISRO.

Some applications of IRNSS include:
  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

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