A few days ago, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lost contact with its newly launched communications satellite-GSAT-6A while on the way to third and final orbit raising. The satellite was intended to complement its previously launched GSAT-6 satellite to better the communication system in the country. The organization’s Master Control Facility (MCF) situated at Hassan has been trying to re-establish the link with the 2,000 kg satellite since 1 April, but the final statement about it is yet to be released. Just two weeks after the launch of its communication satellite, space organization is set to launch the navigation satellite-IRNSS1I on 12 April from its Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
The IRNSS-1I is the eighth satellite to join the NaVIC satellite constellation in Earth’s polar Orbit. The Indian Regional Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent regional navigation system which has been developed to serve at par with the US based-GPS, Russia’s Glonass and Europe’s Galileo. Earlier, the country relied on the Global Positioning System developed by the US for its navigation need, and hence, IRNSS had been conceptualized as an ambitious step to become independent. The navigation system having the service area of 1500 kilometers around India, offers a wide range of functionalities like terrestrial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, disaster management, and also, visual and voice navigation for drivers. With the launch of its seventh and last of the constellations satellite in April 2016, IRNSS was renamed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Navigation Indian Constellation (NaVIC).
Picture credited by ISRO