India Preps its Own Navigation System With the Launch of IRNSS-1D
We have known for a while that India is working on its satellite-based positioning system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS.) This will be a competitor to the US-operated GPS system which is the most prominent navigation system around the world. ISRO has launched PSLV-C27, which carries in itself the IRNSS-1D, which is the fourth satellite in the constellation of seven satellites which will make up for India’s own operating system.
Today’s launch was previously supposed to be held March 9th, but it was postponed due to technical issues in one of the sub-systems. IRNSS-1D has a mission lifespan of 10 years. It will provide navigation, tracking and mapping services. This is the fourth satellite in the constellation of seven satellites. The four satellite will be capable of offering navigational assistance on their own, but the other three satellites will add more accuracy to the system. Once completed, the IRNSS would be on par with US-based GPS system.
IRNSS will be accessible from mobile devices and navigational systems, just like GPS. It will offer terrestrial and marine navigation, assist in disaster management, help track vehicles and will also provide visual and voice navigation for drivers. The system will be established this year and cost the taxpayers a sum of Rs. 1420 crores. IRNSS will focus on South Asia so India’s neighbours can also benefit from it.
The Kargil War of 1999 had incited a need for an in-country navigation system. The US government back then had refused the request of the Indian government to use the navigation system to keep track of enemy movement. This led to the inception of the IRNSS, and now it has reached the half way mark to completion. India is not the only country which wants to break the dominance of GPS and US influence in the navigational front. Russia with its GLONASS system is already in the market while European Union’s Galileo positioning system and China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System are in the planning stages.