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ISRO awards GAGAN project contract to America’s Raytheon

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has awarded a contract to American aerospace giant Raytheon Company, to install a system that will allow aircraft in India to use the constellation of GPS systems of the US.

ISRO officials told PTI here that the contract was signed early this month, under which Raytheon will supply ground based systems of a technology demonstrator for GPS aided Geo-Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) to improve air traffic and other civil navigation.

India is investing nearly Rs. 110 crores (USD 24 millions) in the venture jointly by ISRO and Airports Authority of India (AAI). Raytheon will develop the hardware and software for the system and build eight reference stations in various cities, besides a Master Control Centre and an uplink station.

ISRO is also building a navigational payload for the GAGAN project, to be installed in a G-SAT satellite, to be launched in 2006.

After an experimental phase for a year, the payload will be operational by 2008, ISRO officials said. Using special receivers, GPS signals allow one to get a positional fix anywhere in the planet, but a project like GAGAN will enable the signals to be augmented to provide the accuracy needed for aircraft navigation and landing.

Besides Raytheon, French telecom equipment major Alcatel, is also in the race for the GAGAN contract.