India Launches New Navigation Satellite

According to the Times of India, India launched it’s second navigation satellite for its new regional navigation satellite system, which is set to compete with the US GPS system. This will allow India to be a regional competitor to the American GPS system, and also give India more independence when it comes to national security as well. According to Russia Today, this was a lesson learned during the Kargil war, when India asked the US for help in getting GPS data on positions on Pakistani troops. The United States denied India this help, and so a regional navigation system will greatly improve India’s capacity to defend itself, without reliance on foreign help.

Some specifications about this system, according to the same Russia Today article, include:

“• It will provide a position accuracy of better than 20 meters in the primary service area.
• IRNSS consists of a space segment and a ground segment; the space segment comprising seven satellites, with three satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in inclined geosynchronous orbit.
• IRNSS satellites would revolve round the earth at the height of about 36,000 kilometers from the earth’s surface.
• It will be useful in land, sea and air navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, provision of precise time, mapping, and navigation aid for hikers and travelers, visual and voice navigation for drivers.
• It can track people or vehicles and can be of immense use in disaster situations like last year’s flashfloods in Uttarakhand.
• It will be a boon for the railways for tracking wagons.
• A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite.”

India is set to complete launching all seven satellites into orbit by the middle of 2015, thus completing the system in a fairly fast amount of time.

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