Isro plans a S.Asia GPS with 7 satellites

India will put a constellation of seven satellites into a geo-synchronous orbit in the next six years to create a comprehensive navigational system for the South Asian region, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said today. The system, to be called the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS), will provide invaluable positioning and timing data to aircraft and ships operating in the region. The constellation is being designed on the lines of the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

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“This will be a very important step in the direction of having an efficient navigation system for countries in the region,” Nair said, adding that the first of the seven satellites would be launched in 2009. All of them will be carried on PSLVs and the total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 1600 crore.

Like GPS data, information produced from IRNSS is likely to be freely available for everyone to use. This constellation would be part of nearly 60 launches that ISRO has planned over the next five years. Admitting that launching so many satellites would put severe strain on ISRO, Nair said he did not think that the target was unrealistic.

“Right now we do about four launches a year against a capability of five or six. By outsourcing more of our work to the industry, like manufacture of satellite components, we are quite hopeful of achieving that target,” Nair said. In the next twelve months, ISRO plans two GSLV and three PSLV launches.

Article courtesy: Indian Express

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