PSLV-C31 Puts IRNSS-1E In Orbit

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has started 2016 with a bang, launching the fifth (IRNSS-1E) naviga tion satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation that will function as an alternative to the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).

An XL version of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C31) placed in orbit the satellite 19.36 minutes after liftoff from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.31am on Wednesday . Isro scientists said the indigenous navigation system will be fully operational in six months though all the seven satellites would be in orbit much earlier. “We have two more satellites in the series which we intend to launch in a couple of months,“ said ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar.

IRNSS will provide navigation and positioning services in areas that require high precision for aviation, marine navigation, rail transport and military applications.In six-months, Isro expects the system to be integrated with smartphones.

“With four satellites, we could put the system to commercial use. Now with the fifth, we can start partial operations,“ said IRNSS mission director B Jayakumar. “The fifth satellite will, however, need a minimum of three weeks to be operational.“ The Wednesday launch was the 32nd consecutively successful flight of PSLV , and the 11th of the XL version which has four strapon boosters.isro

Satish Dhawan Space Centre director P Kunhikrishnan said it was “a sweet new year gift.“ The four satellites, meanwhile, have been functioning from their designated orbital slots with an achieved position accuracy of 20m over 18 hours every day. They will be operational over 24 hours once the IRNSS configuration is complete.

But compared to GPS, which has a precision of five metres and global coverage, IRNSS would cover only a radius of 1,500km with India at the centre. However, it will reduce the country’s dependence on foreign systems during emergencies including military situations.

“We cannot say that our system will phase-out GPS. Whoever wants to use the service, can avail it,“ Jayakumar said.Handheld devices require a small additional hardware and a code in the phone software to use the service.

Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia have expressed interest for cooperation in developing satellite navigation systems with India, Isro said.

Source: Times of India 21st Jan’2016