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Saturday, September 30, 2023

ISRO’s GSLV Rocket Launch Achieves Navigation Satellite Milestone

ISRO, India’s space agency, accomplished a successful launch of the NVS-01 satellite using the GSLV rocket, marking a crucial milestone for the country’s satellite navigation system.

Developed by the UR Rao Satellite Centre, this satellite is the first in the second-generation navigation satellite series.

India currently relies on its NavIC series for navigation and positioning services within and beyond its borders.

The NVS series, including NVS-01, aims to enhance NavIC’s capabilities by introducing L1 band signals and incorporating an indigenous atomic clock, a noteworthy achievement for ISRO.

This development signifies an expansion of services and improved features for India’s satellite navigation system.

Atomic clocks are essential components of satellite systems as they provide highly accurate time measurements down to the nanosecond level. This level of precision is crucial for precise positioning services.

When determining our position using satellite-based navigation, distance calculations from multiple satellites are involved.

These calculations rely on multiplying the signal travel time by the speed of light, which is nearly constant.

Even the slightest variation of a billionth of a second can introduce significant errors in distance measurements, resulting in positioning inaccuracies of several meters or more.

Therefore, the precision of atomic clocks is vital in ensuring accurate and reliable positioning information.

To ensure continuous and reliable satellite navigation services, the presence of atomic clocks is vital. These clocks offer exceptional accuracy at the nanosecond level, maintaining precise time measurements for extended periods without errors. This accuracy enables accurate distance calculations and reliable positioning services.

Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman of ISRO, explained that out of India’s current NavIC satellites, only four are operational.

Instead of replacing the non-functional satellites from the previous generation, ISRO has chosen to launch a new set of five next-generation NavIC satellites, with NVS-01 being the first among them.

The decision to launch a new fleet of satellites is driven by the fact that the existing constellation is approaching the end of its mission life.

Rather than simply replacing the old fleet, the plan is to launch two next-generation NavIC satellites annually, ensuring continuity and enhanced capabilities for India’s satellite navigation system.

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