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Friday, 29 April 2016
India Enters Elite GPS Club With Launch Of Newest Satellite: Top 10 Developments
NavIC - or Navigation With Indian Constellation - will be operational within four months and offer a host of services like terrestrial and marine navigation, assistance during disasters, vehicle tracking, fleet management and navigation for drivers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched the launch via a live video link, congratulated the scientists at India's space agency Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO.
"We used to be dependent on others for navigation, today we have become independent. This system is dedicated to our sailors and the world will know it as NavIC," PM Modi said.
Currently only five nations have a satellite system offering Global Positioning - the original GPS is owned by the US Air Force and Russia has its parallel system GLONASS.
China's BeiDou offers regional coverage. It is being expanded to a global system. Europe's Galileo, a civil global system, is yet to be operational.
Each of these satellite systems have between 28 and 35 satellites - a larger number by far compared to the Indian system, which has seven.
But while most other systems are global or moving towards it, the Indian system is regional in nature. The abbreviated name for the satellite series - IRNSS -- stands for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.
"The Indian system will provide positional accuracy of less than 20 meters," said AS Ganeshan, retired programme director of ISRO's Satellite Navigation Progamme.
Officials of ISRO said the cost of building the satellite system was Rs. 1,420 crore.
The first satellite of the series, IRNSS-1A, was launched in July 2013. Two more satellites were launched the next year. In January and March this year, ISRO placed fifth and the sixth satellites -- IRNSS-1E and IRNSS-1F -- in space.