Moving a step closer to completing the satellite network for its own location positioning system, India on Thursday successfully launched the IRNSS 1F, the sixth and penultimate of the series.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is to be a cluster of seven satellites that will provide location services over India and neighbouring countries, just like the Global Positioning Service (GPS) that most of the world, including India, currently uses.
The IRNSS-1F rode into space on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Thursday afternoon from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, near Chennai.
WATCH: PSLV-C32 launched with an Indian Navigation Satellite System from Sriharikota.
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 10, 2016
“PSLV C-32 has put the satellite into the right orbit. We have only one more in the constellation to complete the regional navigational system, which we hope to do next month,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A S Kiran Kumar was quoted by PTI as saying after the launch.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the ISRO team. “Successful launch of IRNSS-1F is an accomplishment we all take immense pride in. I salute the hard work of our scientists and ISRO,” Modi tweeted from his personal Twitter handle.
The IRNSS network is already operational. It had started working after the launch of the fourth satellite in March last year. A minimum of four satellites are required to make the system operational. ISRO and some educational institutions are already receiving the data and using it for developing some location solutions. The fifth satellite was launched in January this year and has become operational.
The first satellite in the series was launched in July 2013, followed by another one in April, 2014 and the third in October the same year.
The IRNSS system is designed to provide location accuracy better than 10 metres. Once it becomes fully operational, the IRNSS would be used to provide terrestrial and marine navigation, help in disaster management operations, and offer voice and visual navigation services.
The IRNSS 1F, besides having the navigation and ranging payload, is also carrying a Rubidium atomic clock, which will transmit navigation service signals to users.