India launches navigation satellite

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Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), July 2: India on Monday night successfully launched the first of the seven satellites aimed at setting up an indigenous navigation system to provide accurate information about position to aircraft, ships and land vehicles. Even hikers will be benefitted by these satellites.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off from the launch centre here on India's east coast at 11.41 pm and put the satellite into its orbit about 20 minutes later. It was the first midnight launch staged by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Rocket takes off

India's first navigation satellite IRNSS-1A, blasts off from Sriharikota.

Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1A

IRNSS-1A is India's first dedicated navigation satellite.

The rocket injected the 1,425kg satellite into the orbit, 284 km at the nearest point and 20,650 km at its farthest. ISRO engineers will gradually push the satellite towards its final positioning, 55 degrees East, which is about 36,000 km above the equator.

Sources in the ISRO said the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will become fully operational after the other six component satellites are launched. The full constellation is expected to be in place by 2015.

The IRNSS is expected to become an alternative to the services currently provided by the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's GLONASS for various navigational and position-dependent applications.

The IRNSS, a Rs 1,420-crore project, will provide position information to users in India and acorss the region upto about 1,500 km from India's national border. The system will give position accuracy upto 20 metres in these areas.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi tweeted:

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