India on Friday successfully launched its second navigational satellite IRNSS-1B onboard PSLV C-24, taking a step closer to realising its ambitious programme of establishing an independent regional space-based navigation system.
IRNSS-1B, the second of the seven satellites planned under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), was placed in precise orbit by the workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which completed its silver jubilee success mission.
Drawing a golden brush in the clear blue sky, the 44.4 metre tall PSLV-C24 lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, about 100 km from Chennai, at 5.14 pm and soared to its destination.
About 19 minutes after the lift-off, PSLV C24 successfully placed the 1,432 kg IRNSS 1B in the intended orbit above the Earth, much to the jubilation of the ISRO scientists in the mission control room.
“The PSLV, in its 25th successive successful flight, precisely injected India’s second regional navigational satellite IRNSS-1B very precisely,” an elated ISRO chief K Radhakrishan said.
At a total budget of around Rs 1,420 crore, ISRO is in the process of putting in place the IRNSS, comprising a space, ground and user segments, which would provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary.
IRNSS is equivalent to Global Positioning System of the United States. IRNSS-1A, the first satellite of the IRNSS constellation, has already started functioning, having been launched in July last year.
Thanking the entire ISRO team for this “major milestone” for the country, Radhakrishnan said “For the farthest distance we targeted was 20,650 kms plus or minus 20,675 kms, and what we got is 20,630 kms, just 20 kms less. As far as the inclination of the orbit, we are on the dot.”
Talking about the future projects, he said, during the current year the space agency would launch two more navigational satellites IRNSS 1C and 1D.
While the US’ Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia’s GLONASS are the effective navigation systems worldwide presently, India is hoping to put all the seven satellites in space by 2015. However, the IRNSS could start functioning even with a minimum of four navigation satellites in space.
IRNSS would help in terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture and others.