CHENNAI: India will launch a backup navigation satellite this month end as a replacement for the IRNSS-1A satellite whose three atomic clocks have failed. Reliable sources say the launch is tentatively fixed for August 31 on board PSLV-C39.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A S Kiran Kumar confirmed to the Express that the launch would happen this month end, but said the exact date hadn’t been finalised yet.
The Rs 1,420 crore satellite navigation system NavIC suffered a setback in January last, when three rubidium atomic clocks of IRNSS-1A that was put into orbit on July 1, 2013, stopped working. Each satellite has three clocks and a total of 27 clocks for the navigation satellite system were supplied by the same vendor from Europe. The clocks are important to provide precise data.
ISRO officials maintain that the navigation services were not affected.
“Four satellites are enough to deliver robust navigation services. Even if IRNSS-1A is taken off the NavIC constellation, six are still operational. As per the original plan, we have two spares ready for contingency measures. So, one of them is being flown out this month,” a senior official said.
NavIC is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary.
All satellites of the NavIC constellation are configured identically with I-1K Bus to be compatible for launch onboard PSLV.