The Indian Space Agency today inched a step closer to having its own satellite navigation system by successfully launching its third Navigation Satellite, IRNSS-1C, using its workhorse launch vehicle PSLV.
After a 67-hour countdown that started on Monday morning, the 44.4 m-tall PSLV-C26, with a lift-off mass of 320 tonne, soared into the dark skies from the First Launch Pad at 0132 hrs this morning, carrying its most valuable cargo, the IRNSS-IC, that weighed 1,425.4 kg.
This is the 28th flight of ISRO’s trusted and workhorse launch vehicle PSLV and with this it has tasted 27 consecutive success so far.
There were scenes of jubilation at the Mission Control Centre when the ‘XL’ version of PSLV-C26, after a 20-minute flight, injected the Satellite into the Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a 284 km perigee (nearest point to Earth) and 20,650 km apogee (farthest point to Earth) with an inclination of 17.86 deg with respect to the equatorial plane. Addressing the Scientists from the Mission Control Centre, a beaming ISRO Chief Dr K Radhakairhsnan said the ‘Third Navigation Satellite is up in the orbit’.
Our PSLV has done it again…this is the 28th flight of our PSLV and the seven flight of the ‘XL’ (extended) version, he said. The injection (of the satellite) has been very precise, Dr Radhakrishnan said and congratulated the entire team, which had made this possible.
With the success of the IRNSS-1C mission, which has a life span of 10 years, India moved closer to joining a select group of nations that had similar systems. The Navigation system was similar to the Global Positioning System of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe.
India needs to launch at least four satellites to make the Navigation System operational.
The IRNSS-1C, part of a constellation of seven satellites planned and designed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), would help in terrestrial, aerial and sea navigation.
Civilian aircraft could also use them for cruising, approaching an airport to land and during landing.
The satellite was expected to aid defence applications by aiding missiles to reach their targets accurately. The highly accurate Rubidium atomic clocks were also part of the navigation payload of the satellite. The IRNSS-1C also carried Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
Soon after ejecting into the orbit, the satellite’s solar panels were deployed. The satellite had two kinds of payloads-navigation and ranging. The navigation payload would transmit navigation service signals to the users.
The ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the Satellite. The first Navigation satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013 and the second IRNSS-1B in April this year.
The configuration of IRNSS-1C, which was realised in less than six months after the launch of its predecessor, was similar to that of IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B.
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