ISRO’s new NavIC satellite launches successfully: Why a regional navigation system matters to India

Source: The post is based on the article “ISRO’s new NavIC satellite launches successfully: Why a regional navigation system matters to India” published in the Indian Express on 29th May 2023

What is the News?

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the first of the second-generation satellites for its navigation constellation successfully.

What is Navigation with the Indian Constellation(NavIC)?

Read here: Navigation with the Indian Constellation(NavIC)

What is the significance of NavIC for India?

Read here: The significance of NavIC for India

What’s new in the second-generation NavIC satellite?

Atomic Clock: The satellite will have a Rubidium atomic clock onboard. The space-qualified Rubidium atomic clock was indigenously developed by Space Application Centre-Ahmedabad. It is an important technology which only a handful of countries possess.

Longer mission life: The second-generation satellites will also have a longer mission life of more than 12 years. The existing satellites have a mission life of 10 years.

L1 signals for better use in wearable devices: The second-generation satellites will send signals in a third frequency, L1, besides the L5 and S frequency signals.

The L1 frequency is among the most commonly used in the Global Positioning System (GPS), and will increase the use of the regional navigation system in wearable devices and personal trackers that use low-power, single-frequency chips.

What is the significance of the atomic clock in the second-generation NavIC satellite?

A satellite-based positioning system determines the location of objects by accurately measuring the time it takes for a signal to travel to and back from it using the atomic clocks on board. Several of the existing satellites stopped providing location data after their onboard atomic clocks failed.

Currently, only four IRNSS satellites are able to provide location services. The other satellites can only be used for messaging services such as providing disaster warnings or potential fishing zone messages for fishermen.

How does the second-generation NavIC satellite help users?

A 2018 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said that the Cabinet cleared funding of Rs 200 crore to develop user receivers in 2006. But the project started only in 2017, by which time seven launches had already taken place.

The receivers have now been developed, and NavIC is in use for projects like public vehicle safety, power grid synchronisation, real-time train information systems, and fishermen’s safety.

The government is also working on a common alert protocol based on emergency warnings, time dissemination, geodetic network, and unmanned aerial vehicles for adopting the NavIC system.

What are the potential applications of NavIC satellites?

NavIC signals come to India at a 90-degree angle, making it easier for them to reach devices located even in congested areas, dense forests, or mountains. GPS signals are received over India at an angle.

Read more: The potential application of NavIC
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