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Spare navigational satellite system marks India’s inroads into the sector

 After venturing into the arena of space based navigational system, India will now launch its eighth of a constellation of navigation satellites by the end of this month. This dedicated navigational satellite will serve as a spare or back-up unit for its constellation in the geo-orbit.

“We are preparing to launch the eighth Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS-1H) at the end of this month as a standby for the Navigational Indian Constellation (NavIC), which is operational for services,” ISRO Satellite Centre Director M. Annadurai told media persons.

The 1.4-tonne satellite will be launched from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Sriharikota space centre in southern India. Centre Director Annaduari added that the satellite is ready to move from ISRO to Sriharikota on August 12 on a special vehicle for integration with the rocket at the space centre.

The satellite IRNSS-1H will be deployed, using ISRO’s most reliable and mid-level Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C39) with four straps on motors, and will first enter the geo-transfer orbit and later in the geostationary orbit, 36,000 Km above the earth surface, where the NavIC is orbiting  for over four years.

“The spare or standby satellite will also make up for the non-functioning of three rubidium atomic clocks on board the first one (IRSS-1A) and one each in the other two NavIC satellites,” ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director K. Sivan has reportedly told.

Sivan added that IRNSS-1A would continue to orbit and provide the services programmed for the intended users as part of the system.

One more satellite is planned to be launched over the next several months by ISRO to augment the services of NavIC. The regional satellite navigation system, NavIC provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services. The system at-present consist of a constellation of 7 satellites and provides two levels of service, the open navigational information and positioning service to all users, and a restricted service to the military.

“The two spare navigation satellites will make up for any shortfall in the operations and service provided by NavIC to the users round-the-clock over the next 10 years,” Sivan added.

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