IRNSS Current Affairs - 2019
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China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started offering global service. It is touted as a rival to America’s Global Positioning System (GPS). Pakistan has become the first foreign nation to use the BeiDou system ending its reliance on GPS.
China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System was the fourth global navigation system after US’s GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
China has named its navigation satellite system after the Chinese term which means ‘Big Dipper’. BeiDou-1 consisted of three satellites and was offering navigation services mainly in China and neighbouring regions. It was decommissioned in 2012.
The second generation of the navigation system, BeiDou-2 became operational in China in December 2011 with a partial constellation of 10 satellites in orbit and started providing services in the Asia-Pacific region from December 2012. The third generation of the navigation system, BeiDou-3 began to provide global services from 27th December 2018.
China plans to have a total of 33 satellites operating in orbit for BeiDou by the end of 2018 which includes 15 BeiDou-2 satellites and 18 BeiDou-3 satellites. China further plans to launch another 11 BeiDou-3 satellites and one BeiDou-2 satellite in the coming two years to form a complete global network for enhancing the global service performance.
India’s Navigation System
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) named NAVIC is a regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services covering India and a region extending 1,500 km around it. NAVIC provides two levels of service, the standard positioning service, which will be open for civilian use, and restricted service for authorized users (including military). There are plans to expand the NavIC system by increasing the number of satellites from 7 to 11.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched IRNSS-1I navigation satellite from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite was launched on board of PSLV-C41 (height of 44.4 meters and weight of 321 tonnes) after the normal lift-off and was successfully placed in the designated orbit. It was overall 20th flight of PSLV-XL version and 41st successful mission of total 43 of PSLV.
The IRNSS-1I is overall eighth satellite to join ISRO’s NavIC navigation satellite constellation. It replaced IRNSS-1A, the first of seven navigation satellites of IRNSS series that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed. IRNSS-1I was made by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies in collaboration with ISRO.
Note: It was ISRO’s second attempt to send replacement satellite. The previous mission of a PSLV carrying IRNSS-1H in August 2017 failed after the heat shield covering satellite failed to separate in space after the launch.
The IRNSS-1I was having lift-off weight of 1,425 kg and has life span of 10 years. It carried two types of payloads: Navigation and Ranging. They are L5 and S-band navigation payloads and C-band ranging payloads. It also has corner cube retroreflectors for LASER ranging. It will be stationed in Geosynchronous Orbit at 36,000 km height.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent satellite based regional system developed indigenously by India on par with US-based GPS, Russia’s Glonass and Galileo developed by Europe. It was renamed “Navic” (Navigation with Indian Constellation).
The NAVIC system is constellation of seven satellites, (namely IRNSS-1I, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G) of which three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary. It provides location tracking within 20 meters of actual positions, especially in 1,500 km area around the country’s borders. The indigenous satellite-based navigation system under one’s control and command is considered a deep strategic asset.
The NAVIC navigation system has both civilian and military uses. Moreover, it helps not just in land navigation but also in marine and aerial navigation. It offers wide services like terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management visual and voice navigation for drivers.
The need for indigenous navigation system on par with GPS was felt soon after Kargil conflict (1999), when India desperately needed services osatellite-based navigation system, but did not have one of its own. The US system was not available at the time. Only US (named GPS) and Russia (Glosnass) currently have fully operational GPS systems at present. China (Beidou) and Europe (Galileo) are still in process of deploying their full systems.