ISRO sets ball rolling for Indian ‘GPS' / navigation system

The first of India's own little regional positioning satellites to better the US military-owned GPS may be put up in sky this year. The seven-satellite constellation, called the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System, when fully in place over the coming years, will be far more accurate than the GPS that the world depends on. It would be available to users in the sub-continent all the time come rain or shine, according to ISRO. The space agency along with its other government partners on Wednesday briefed 250 current and potential users, planners, industry and scientists on the uses of navigational systems. The Airports Authority of India co-sponsored the first Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) meet. ISRO's Director, Publicity and PR, Mr S.Satish, said GPS signals and position data received in the country are often wide of the mark. “When we have our own IRNSS, it will be equal to, if not better than, the GPS.” An ISRO release said, “The regional navigational satellite system over the Indian region will provide the user a position accuracy that is better than 20 meters on a 24/7 all-weather basis.”


It said, “The user meet aims to link industry, users and service providers enabling them to share information to promote navigation and positioning satellite systems for transportation, disaster management, environment and agriculture. “The meet provides industry an exposure to the infinite possibilities of using navigation signals and its spin-offs.” “Navigation has become an integral part of human activity. The space-based navigation system has emerged as a forerunner in providing the position, velocity and timing services. ISRO has identified satellite navigation as an important thrust area by planning GAGAN (GPS-Aided GEO-Augmented Navigation) and the upcoming IRNSS,” the release said.

Dr T.K.Alex, Member, Space Commission, and Director, ISRO Satellite Centre, inaugurated a technical meet on sat-nav opportunities and an exhibition of related products by Indian industry. Mr E.K.Bharat Bhushan, Director-General of Civil Aviation, and Mr S.K.Shiva Kumar, Associate Director, ISAC, were present. Mr A.S.Ganeshan, Project Director, Navigation Systems, ISAC, presented the ISRO-AAI GAGAN project and the IRNSS. The users were told about the use of navigational signals for accurate positioning - as in civil aviation, transportation and other services. GAGAN is a joint project of ISRO and AAI to augment or fine-tune the not-too-accurate GPS data obtained from the US. It will mainly benefit airlines over the country's airspace. GSAT-8, the first satellite carrying GAGAN payload or antenna, has been beaming signals since December 15, 2011.

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