India’s sixth navigation satellite called IRNSS-1F launches on Thursday with its own rocket in a copy book style. India moved closer towards joining a select group of nations possessing its own satellite-based navigation system.
On Thursday the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) which consists of a constellation of seven satellites, of which the sixth was put into orbit. After the 1,425-kg IRNSS-1F satellite was injected into space by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C32) rocket, scientists at the mission control centre clapped their hands in joy.
“The sixth navigation satellite has been put into orbit successfully. The seventh navigation satellite is expected to be launched some time next month,” A.S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO chairman said soon after. In the next couple of days, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will raise the satellite to its home slot. The satellite, with a design life span of 12 years, has two payloads for navigation and ranging.
The users will get the service signals by navigation payload of IRNSS-1F. This payload will be operating in L5-band and S-band. A highly accurate rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite. The ranging payload of IRNSS-1F consists of a C-band transponder (automatic receivers and transmitters of radio signals) which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite. IRNSS-1F also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
India has launched six regional navigational satellites (IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, ID, 1E and 1F) till date, as part of a constellation of seven satellites to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km.
The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013, the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014, the third on October 2014, the fourth in March 2015, and the fifth in January this year. While the sixth satellite went up on Thursday, the seventh – IRNSS-1G – is expected to be launched in the second half of 2016.
The IRNSS will provide two types of services — standard positioning service and restricted service. The former is provided to all users and the latter is an encrypted service for authorised users.