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India Launches Second Navigation Satellite

The 1,432-kilogram IRNSS-1B satellite, designed to last 10 years, was placed in an orbit with a perigee of 283 kilometers, an apogee of 20,630 kilometers and an inclination of 19.2 degrees relative to the equator. Credit: ISRO photo

BANGALORE, India — The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched the second of a planned seven regional navigation satellites April 4 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, aboard its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.  

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will feature three satellites in geostationary orbit, two in inclined geosynchronous orbit and two spares. The first satellite, IRNSS-1A, launched July 2, 2013, and is functioning.  

The 1,432-kilogram IRNSS-1B satellite, designed to last 10 years, was placed in an orbit with a perigee of 283 kilometers, an apogee of 20,630  kilometers and an inclination of 19.2 degrees relative to the equator, ISRO said. The spacecraft will use onboard propulsion to reach geosynchronous orbit at 55 degrees east longitude, with an initial 31-degree inclination, ISRO said. 

“It is a major milestone for ISRO,” Koppillil Radhakrishnan, ISRO’s chairman, said following the launch. Two more IRNSS satellites will be launched this year, and all the seven will be in orbit by mid-2015, he said. 

The IRNSS is expected to cost $239 million in total, including a ground segment consisting of 21 ranging stations.   

According to ISRO documents, the IRNSS payload includes an L-band navigation transponder operating at 1176.45 megahertz, an S-band transponder, a Rubidium atomic clock and a C- band transponder for ranging. 

Unlike the U.S. GPS and other global navigation systems, IRNSS services will be available only in India and within 1,500 kilometers of its borders. ISRO said the system will provide a civilian positioning service with an accuracy of better than 20 meters, and an encrypted service available only to authorized users.  

The hub for the IRNSS satellite communications links is hosted at the ISRO Navigation Centre at Byalalu, about 40 kilometers from Bangalore. 

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