India’s plan to launch its newly operational navigation satellite system, in commercial markets suffered an initial setback, with three atomic clocks of one of its seven satellites not functioning, Times of India has reported. The rubidium clocks, belonging to India’s first navigational satellite IRNSS-1A, were specially imported from Europe and were used to give accurate location data. According to the report by TOI, achieving true positional accuracy becomes a problem without the time signal.
“Three atomic clocks of IRNSS-1A have stopped working. But the rest of satellite components are functioning perfectly. In fact, we are using this satellite for messaging activity. The stopping of these atomic clocks has not affected the overall performance of our navigation system. We are targeting to launch the replacement satellite in July,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A S Kiran Kumar was quoted by Times of India.
Denying the rumours of more atomic clocks facing malfunctions, Kumar said, “We are set to launch more navigational satellites. They are in the process of approvals and clearances. We are also making efforts to restart the atomic clocks of IRNSS-1A.”
The Rs 1,420-crore Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (operational name NaVIC–Navigation with Indian Constellation) consists of nine satellites, out of which seven are in the orbit while two are currently still on standby. According to news agency IANS, ISRO has launched seven navigation satellites, with each of them having a life span of 10 years. The last one was launched on April 28, 2016.