India launched successfully IRNSS-1D satellite, its fourth navigation satellite in row into orbit on Saturday at 5:19 PM on its rocket launching vehicle PSLV C27 from the 2nd launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
The rocket left behind an inverted flare with a long handle as it gathered speed amidst the cheers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) team and the media. The PSLV-C27 put the satellite into its designated orbit 20 minutes later, making the country join the big league with own GPS navigation system.
Unlike the glitch last time, ISRO took all precautions to make it a perfect launch and a team of officials visited Tirupati with a replica of IRNSS-1D that was presented to Lord Venkateshwara seeking blessings.[See: ISRO Scientists Throng Tirupati Seeking Blessings Ahead of IRNSS-1D Launch]
“Despite the initial hiccup in the form of some problem with one of the sub-systems in the satellite and postponement of the launch date, today the satellite has been successfully put into orbit,” ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said after the launch referring to the glitch that was found in its telemetry transmitter and postponed its launch from March 9 to today.
With solar panels deployed, the satellite will send signals to its Mission Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka and its future operations like firing the on-board motors till it is placed in the circular geosynchronous orbit will be managed by them.
Now India roudly joins the top club of nations with their own global positioning system (GPS) — the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia (24 satellites), Galileo of Europe (27 satellites) and China’s Beidou (35 satellites) and Japan. The US and Russian satellites serve the global systems while the Chinese and the Japanese systems offer regional coverage.
The IRNSS will provide both standard positioning service and restricted service to the government with encrypted service.
“From four navigation satellites up in the sky, we will get the signals which would prove the concept on which the whole IRNSS has been designed. While the full range of services may not be available with the constellation of four satellites, a user would be able to locate his position,” a senior official of the Indian space agency told IANS preferring not to be named.
Once the IRNSS-1D is put in its slot and made operational, the Indian satellite navigation system would start transmitting navigation signals, helping a navigation receiver to compute its position.
ISRO plans to send two more navigation satellites this year. The full-fledged navigation services will begin from next year. India has achieved another milestone by bringing down the number of satellites for its navigation the minimum number of four and targeting two more to serve only Indian region. Otherwise, for global network more than 20 satellites would be required, according to ISRO officials.
The full IRNSS system will have 9 satellites, 7 in orbit and 2 on the ground as stand-by. teh entire project cost Rs.150 crore per satellite and another Rs.130 crore for the PSLV rocket to launch it.(With inputs from IANS)