Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

By Author – Samata Shelare


India is looking forward to starting its own Navigational system. At present most of the countries are dependent on Americas Global Positioning System (GPS). India is all set to have its own navigational system named Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). IRNSS is going to be fully functional by mid of 2016. IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information throughout India. It also covers 1500 km of the region around the boundary of India. IRNSS would have 7 satellites, out of which 4 are already placed in orbit. The fully deployed IRNSS system consists of 3 satellites in GEO orbit and 4 satellites in GSO orbit, approximately 36,000 km altitude above the earth surface.

  1. Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS (NavIC) is designed to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary.
  2. It is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India on par with US-based GPS.
  3. NavIC provides two types of services:
    • Standard positioning service – This is meant for all users.
    • Restricted service – Encrypted service which is provided only to authorized users like military and security agencies.
  4. Applications of IRNSS:
    • Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation
    • Disaster management
    • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
    • Precise timing mapping and geodetic data capture
    • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers
    • Visual and voice navigation for drivers
  5. Operational Mechanism
    While American GPS has 24 satellites in orbit, the number of sats visible to the ground receiver is limited.In IRNSS, four satellites are always in geosynchronous orbits.Hence, each satellite is always visible to a receiver in a region 1,500 km around India
  6. Navigation Constellation
    It consists of seven satellites: three in geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and four in geosynchronous orbit (GSO) inclined at 29 degrees to the equator.
  7. Each sat has three rubidium atomic clocks, which provide accurate locational data.
  8. The first naval, IRNSS-1A, was launched on July 1, 2013, and seventh of the series (last one) was launched on April 28, 2016.
  9. Though desi navigation system is operational, its services are not yet ready for commercial purpose.

This is because the chipset required for wireless devices like the cell phone to access navigation services is still being developed by Isro and is yet to hit the market.

The four deployed satellites are IRNSS-1A, IRNSS-1B, IRNSS-1C, IRNSS-1D. Further IRNSS-E is planned to be launched by January and IRNSS-F, G by March 2016.

IRNSS will provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorized users.
ISRO is recommending a small additional hardware for handheld devices that can receive S-Band signals from IRNSS satellites and inclusion of a code in the phone software to receive L-Band signals.
Senior ISRO official said that ? both these L and S-band signals received from seven satellite constellation of the IRNSS are being calculated by a special embedded software which reduces the errors caused by atmospheric disturbances significantly. This, in turn, gives a superior quality location accuracy than the American GPS system.
At present, only Americas GPS and Russias GLONASS (GLObal NAvigation Satellite System) are independent and fully functional navigational systems. India will be the third country to have its own navigational system.
The main advantage of Indian own navigational system is that India wont be dependent on USs GP System for defense operations. India had no options till now. During Kargil war, Indian Army and Airforce had to use GPS. The information related to security operations are very confidential and should not be shared with anyone.

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