With the successful launching of the Indian Regional Navigation System (IRNSS) by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India will be another step closer to completing its own autonomous satellite navigation system. This milestone will allow India to be independent from the US Geographical Positioning System service. The fourth satellite is set for liftoff on March 9.
IRNSS will be composed of seven satellites with the prefix “IRNSS-1” followed by alphabets A to G. The system is expected to be functional by year 2015, with one satellite launching every six months.
So far, a total of three satellites have been launched since 2013, beginning with IRNSS-1A on July 1, 2013. It was carried by the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (IPSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 18:11 UTC. The launch, designated as flight C22, was IPSLV’s 24th flight and its 20th successful launch.
The second satellite, IRNSS-1B, which was aboard IPSLV-C24, was successfully blasted off less than a year later, on April 4, 2014. Shortly following, the IRNSS-1C was launched on October 16.
The first four satellites will be placed in the geosynchronous orbit inclined at 29 degrees. Three are already operational; the March 9th liftoff for the fourth satellite, IRNSS-1D, will be the last satellite placed in this orbit. Currently, IRNSS-1A is positioned at a longitude of 55 degrees east along with IRNSS-1B. The other two, on the other hand, are to be placed at 111 degrees east.
The remaining three, IRNSS-1E, IRNSS-1F and IRNSS-1G respectively, will be placed in geostationary orbit, and will operate at 34, 83 and 132 degrees east correspondingly.
Two types of services are provided using the IRNSS; the standard positioning service, which will be provided to all users and the restricted service, which is an encrypted service, available only to authorized users.
The director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre announced that the launch is planned tentatively for March 9 at around 6:35 PM. The Launch Authorisation Board (LAB), however, has the final say for the schedule of the rocket’s flight. Until then, the rocket is scheduled to undergo final testing procedures before it will be moved to the launch pad on March 4.