NEW DELHI/BENGALURU, Aug. 31: The launch of India's eighth navigation satellite, IRNSS- 1H, on Thursday will open a new chapter in the country's history of space exploration as, for the first time, the private sector has been actively involved in assembling and testing of a satellite. Earlier, the private sector's role was limited only to supplying components.
The 1,425-kg satellite is all set to start its voyage from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, riding the Indian Space Research Organisation's trusted launch vehicle PSLV-XL.
A consortium led by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies successfully completed 25% of the development work of IRNSS-1H, under the guidance of Isroscientists.
Isro chairman A S Kiran Kumar told, "For the first time, a private company has been involved in the integration of a satellite. Progressively, we will involve more and more companies in satellite assembly activities." Kiran Kumar said, "Subsystems of the payload and launch vehicle are already being developed in collaboration with the industry."
Alpha Design CMD HS Shankar said the consortium had bagged the orders to build IRNSS-1I and work had already begun. The launch of IRNSS-1I is scheduled for April 2018. Incidentally, in another first, a crucial part of the development of IRNSS-1H happened at the newly developed Isro space park in Whitefield.
Isro felt the need to launch IRNSS-1H after three atomic clocks of its first navigational satellite IRNSS-1A, launched in 2013, stopped functioning.
These rubidium atomic clocks, which are imported from European aerospace manufacturer Astrium, are meant to provide accurate locational data.
Tapan Misra, director of Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre, said, "We need to know the position of a satellite in order to find the position of an object on earth.
And to find a satellite's position, we have to measure it with the help of time. To find the satellite's position with an accuracy of 0.5 metre, atomic clocks are therefore used for precise timing." When the time signal is missing, getting true positional accuracy becomes a problem. "Poor the accuracy of these atomic clocks, less the accuracy of the distance calculated."
Isro had imported 27 sophisticated timekeepers for the nine satellites of the Rs 1,420-crore Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (operational name NaVIC — Navigation with Indian Constellation).
Out of which, seven of the satellites are in the orbit. NaVIC, which has become operational but is yet to be commercialised, has several key applications. It can help merchant ships navigate to their destination, help in real-time tracking of train movements, help government agencies manage resources efficiently using geotagging techniques, help provide location-based services to people and can be used by fishermen reach potential fishing zones at sea.
The satellite will be launched into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit. After injection into this preliminary orbit, two solar panels of IRNSS-1H will be automatically deployed, and the master control facility at Hassan will perform orbit raising manoeuvres of the satellite.TOI
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