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Satellite navigation system soon
Published on 6 Jan. 2011 1:04 AM IST
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India will shortly join a select group of nations having its own satellite navigation system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) offering position, navigation and timing (PNT) services, an official of India’s space agency said Wednesday.
“The IRNSS is a constellation of seven satellites - to be increased to 11 later - to offer PNT services that could be used by various organisations globally or regionally,” said Suresh V. Kibe of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Speaking at the 98th Indian Science Congress held at SRM University in Kattankulathur near here, Kibe said there are two operational space navigation systems in the world -- US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) belonging to Russia. He said that Europe’s Galileo system and Chinese COMPASS system are also expected to be operational in the next five to ten years.
The PNT services find application in mobile phones, vehicles, aviation, maritime, emergency services, survey and others including military, Kibe said.
In the next 10 years, the number of navigation satellites is expected to be around 100, he said.
On ISRO’s GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) project, Kibe said it will be used for landing of aircrafts with an accuracy of six metres and the target date of activating the system is 2012.
With the interests of space faring nations in exploring space colonization, emeritus professor P. Dayanandan said it is time for India to have a comprehensive space biology programme for self reliance and the success of current and planned space explorations. He said 14 nations of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group hope that someday humans may live in other planets, most probably Mars and the most challenging issue is providing a permanent life support system.
GSLV failure: ISRO blames German tech
The 10 connectors that snapped prematurely destroying the Indian rocket - Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) – on December 25 were imported from Germany, an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Space Summit session at the 98th Indian Science Congress, TK Alex, director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, said: “The connectors are German made.”
On Christmas day, a GSLV rocket weighing 418 tonnes and costing `175 crore (USD 38 million) and carrying an advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P veered off its flight path and disintegrated within a minute after lift off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
According to ISRO officials, commands from the rocket’s on-board computers - located atop other equipments including the three stages/engines - are relayed through wires.
“As the three stages would separate after their work one after another, it is impossible to have long wires connecting the computers at the top and the stages located below. Hence, we have connectors, sort of plugs and sockets, to relay the commands and peel off smoothly when the stages separate,” an ISRO official said. According to ISRO, 10 connectors located below the Russian made cryogenic engine snapped leading to the rocket’s failure.
Asked if it was a failure of the connectors, Alex said: “A committee has been set up to study the reasons for the connectors to snap. Even the back-up connectors snapped.”
In July last year, an ISRO official said the failure of imported component for power systems was the reason for its satellites failing.
ISRO has lost two of its satellites - Chandrayaan in 2009 and INSAT-2D in 1997 - and INSAT-4B partially due to glitches in power supply systems.
ISRO, which is trying to get a foothold in the global communication satellite building market, suffered a setback as the W2M satellite built along with EADS Astrium for Eutelsat Communcations failed last year.
The Indian space agency imports the solar cells to make the solar panels that supply power to the satellite.

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