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Apr 15 launch to give India its navigation satellite

New Delhi, India: India’s hunt for a satellite-based navigation system is nearing its end. On April 15, launch of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will place in orbit a satellite with navigational features. It will be followed by three more which will be part of Geo Augmented Navigational system (GAGAN), aimed at enhancing satellite signals to the levels needed for a GPS programme.

The launch will be the first part of a plan that eventually leads to an Indian regional navigational satellite system which is to be in place by 2014. When fully operational, it will cover the entire Indian landmass with an additional range of 1,500 km.

But first, GAGAN will provide placement accuracy to the levels of 7.5 metres and will be applicable in civil aviation and other sectors including some related to defence. The nomenclature makes it evident that it will augment current capacities while a full-fledged GPS will follow later. Prithviraj Chavan, Ministry of Science, Government of India, said, “The plan is to enhance signals that get weakened by the atmosphere. GAGAN will have an array of applications and these functions are a part of the capacities of the satellites that will be launched in succession.”

GAGAN will step up the existing signals that are bent, distorted, reflected or weakened by ions in the atmosphere.

Apart from the Galileo from the Europe and GLONASS from Russian, Chinese are also developing Compass and US already has the GPS. Codenamed GSLV-D3, the three-stage rocket will put in orbit the 2.2-tonne advanced communication and navigation satellite, the GSAT-4, according to Dr K Radhakrishnan, ISRO’s chairman.

The navigational aides will better aviation safety and also provide a vital eye in the sky with defence implications that cover ground-based movements and high resolution satellite mapping. This will be used in survey operations aimed at tracking hostile movements and camps. The resolutions will help target systems and aid ground based forces reach objectives in areas difficult to access.

Source: Times of India