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‘GPS capability must not be monopolised’

No individual country should be allowed to gain monopoly control of the global positioning system (GPS) space since that advantage could be misused to exercise dominance over others, according to Prof U.R. Rao, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the present Chairman of Prasar Bharati.

GPS satellite capacity was now confined to just two countries, the US and Russia. Many nations have been demanding that the management of GPS should ideally be instead entrusted with an international agency to prevent the system from being manipulated by any single country to its advantage, Prof Rao said while inaugurating a national workshop on `Navigation Systems: Present scenario and future trends’ organised by the Thiruvananthapuram chapter of the Systems Society of India.

It is time India focussed on strengthening its capabilities in this satellite navigation system whose relevance to newer scientific applications was growing. One could visualise a future when pilot-less airplanes would navigate using GPS, Prof Rao said.

ISRO was on the verge of developing its own fibre-optic gyroscopes, according to Dr N. Vedachalam, Director of the Liquid Propulsion System Centre. The fibre-optic gyros would be more accurate than the mechanical ones currently used for the navigation of Indian launch vehicles and satellites.

Speaking at the workshop, Dr A. Bose, Director of the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, said the space agency had developed two new inertial sensors.