But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society – Vikram Sarabhai
The father of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) despite being a man who many describes as a visionary ‘who saw beyond the obvious’, was skeptical of the contemplation that India would ever be able to run the space run alongside the global giants.
Today, the buzzing nucleus of India’s space endeavors, has brought laurels to the country on numerous accounts. In recent times, the organization has hit the headlines for its immeasurable successes- for which the tricolor proudly flutters from the sky. Some of these golden moments include – Mars Orbiter Mission (for exploration of the red planet), PSLV-C28 Mission (dubbed as the heaviest commercial mission).
ISRO has added yet another glimmering achievement to its winning streaks with the launch of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) – which has been named as Navigation with Indian Constellation (NAVIC), by the PM.
1) Inception and About:
India’s heavy reliance on the GPS and other foreign navigation systems had at times proved to be detrimental to national strategic and military interests-for instance during the Kargil War. This was the spark that gave birth to IRNSS- a regional navigational system developed by India; with the objective of providing real time accurate positioning service.
The project kicked off with the launch of the first satellite IRNSS-1A in July, 2013. On 28th May, 2016, PSLV-C33 shot up to the skies carrying IRNSS-1G, thus, concluding the launching of the constellation of satellites making up the system.
2) Coverage and cost-effectiveness:
The coverage of the system includes the entire territory of India as well as an area of around 15000 km extending from the borders. ISRO insiders have claimed that the quality of the indigenous tech may even surpass that of the elites in the club which includes- US, Russia and China. If this indeed turns out to be true, then ISRO will have another reason to be proud of its smartness for having managed to build an awesome system with just 7 satellites while the rest bear heavy burdens of managing around 24-35 satellites.
3) The Applications:
The IRNSS is so designed as to meet both civilian and military needs. The Standard Positioning Service (SPS) and the Restricted Service (RS) would cater to the former and the latter respectively.
The most direct beneficiaries of this system, are expected to be the armed forces, with enhanced capacity in the monitoring of troops, targeting of potential enemies, etc. Besides, it is expected to facilitate a quantum leap in fleet management and vehicle tracking, disaster management, aerial and maritime navigation, etc.
4) Endorsing Space Swadeshi:
“We have to keep one thing in mind, we always have GPS and GLONASS which are available worldwide… we need to compete with them in commercialization.” Mr. Satheesh Reddy highlights the challenge that lies ahead for IRNSS. With the ISRO success, India has entered an arena of cut-throat competition. Talks have already begun to convince mobile manufacturers to incorporate the requisite chip that will usher in the flood of IRNSS signals.
ISRO is close to celebrating its 50 years of a glittery record. For now, even as scientists at the space agency share congratulatory handshakes, they anxiously wait to see how the future plays out for their beloved masterpiece. For our part, we can do them and the country a favor by giving IRNSS a try, once it meekly enters the market. Adopting this modern Swadeshi attitude is what we owe and must deliver.