Private sector enters satellite building with 'IRNSS replacement' launch today

MUMBAI: India's success in space exploration has been growing tremendously.

One of the seven satellites in the constellation, as three rubidium atomic clocks on board had stopped functioning, the IRNSS- 1H satellite, weighing 1,425kg, will be launched from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), on the ISRO's launch vehicle PSLV-XL.

The launch of India's eighth navigational satellite IRNSS- 1H scheduled at 19:00 hrs today will mark the first time the private sector got actively involved in assembling and testing of a satellite. In the past, the private sector has supplied components for satellites, it has now been involved in the actual assembly.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India on par with US-based GPS. The system that offers services like terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, navigation aide for hikers and travellers, visual and voice navigation for drivers, was named 'NavIC' (Navigation with Indian Constellation) by the prime minister Narendra Modi.

The launch vehicle PSLV-C39 will use the 'XL' version of PSLV equipped with six strap-ons, each carrying 12 tons of propellant.

ISRO chairman S Kiran Kumar said that a private company was for the first time involved in the integration of a satellite. Progressively, more such companies would be involved, he added. Subsystems of the payload and launch vehicle were being developed in collaboration with the industry, Kumar said.

Around 25 per cent of the IRNSS-1H development work was successfully completed by a consortium led by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Tecnologies, under the guidance of ISRO scientists.

The need to launch this satellite came up after three atomic clocks on board ISRO's first navigational satellite IRNSS-1A, launched in 2013, had stopped functioning. Imported from European aerospace manufacturer Astrium, the clocks are used to provide accurate locational data used in several earth-based applications, such as navigation and monitoring.

The IRNSS-1H will be launched into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit after which two solar panels of the satellite will be automatically deployed, and the master control facility at Hassan will perform orbit raising manoeuvres of the satellite.

NavIC is useful for merchant ships in navigation and also during search and rescue operations. NavIC helps commuters to traverse distances and also enable transport operators to track their vehicles. The system is also helpful for railways in tracking trains and also giving an alert in the case of unmanned level crossing.

NavIC is also used for other applications like location-based services, survey and alignment, time synchronised services. It provides two types of services -- standard positioning service and restricted service.

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