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ISRO’s GSLV-F12 Successfully Places 2nd Generation Navigation Satellite into Orbit

The successful launch of NVS-01 underscores ISRO's dedication to advancing India's space capabilities and reinforces its position as a key player in the global space arena.

Shivam Dwivedi
ISRO’s GSLV-F12 Successfully Places 2nd Generation Navigation Satellite into Orbit (Photo Source: ISRO)
ISRO’s GSLV-F12 Successfully Places 2nd Generation Navigation Satellite into Orbit (Photo Source: ISRO)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved yet another milestone today as it successfully launched the first of a series of second-generation navigation satellites using a GSLV rocket. The satellite, named NVS-01, was placed into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), and subsequent maneuvers will position it in the intended geosynchronous orbit.

NVS-01 plays a crucial role in augmenting India's regional navigation system, known as NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation). Similar to GPS, NavIC provides accurate and real-time navigation services. The signals transmitted by NavIC are designed to offer user positions with an accuracy better than 20 meters and timing accuracy within 50 nanoseconds.

The launch took place at the second launch pad of the spaceport, located approximately 130 km from Chennai, and marked the 15th flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The GSLV is a 3-stage rocket standing 51.7 meters tall, equipped with a cryogenic upper stage. ISRO Chairman S Somanath expressed his congratulations to the entire team for the successful outcome of the mission.

He highlighted the significance of NVS-01 in ensuring the continuity of NavIC services, particularly following the anomaly encountered during the GSLV F10 mission in August 2021. Somanath credited the Failure Analysis Committee for addressing the issues and implementing necessary corrections in the cryogenic stage, which resulted in the current success.

NVS-01 is a second-generation satellite with enhanced capabilities. It features improved signal security and introduces a civilian frequency band. The successful launch sets the stage for the deployment of a total of five satellites from this series.

Approximately 20 minutes after liftoff, the GSLV rocket deployed NVS-01 into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit at an altitude of approximately 251 km. The satellite carries navigation payloads of L1, L5, and S bands. Notably, NVS-01 includes an indigenous rubidium atomic clock, a technology previously sourced from other countries. The development of an indigenous rubidium atomic clock by the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre is significant, as only a handful of countries possess this technology.

The successful launch of NVS-01 marks a significant step forward in India's navigation capabilities. The GSLV rocket demonstrated its capability to launch satellites with larger payloads, and the performance of the cryogenic stage was normal and as expected. With NVS-01 now in orbit, the solar panels have been deployed, and the satellite is prepared for further operations to raise its orbit.

ISRO developed the NavIC system to meet the positioning, navigation, and timing requirements of India, serving both civil aviation and military applications. NavIC, formerly known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), provides services such as terrestrial, aerial, and maritime navigation, precision agriculture, location-based services on mobile devices, and support for marine fisheries.

NavIC offers two services: the Standard Position Service (SPS) for civilian users and the Restricted Service for strategic users. The SPS signals of NavIC are interoperable with signals from other global navigation satellite systems, including GPS, Glonass, Galileo, and BeiDou.

Monday's successful mission marks the sixth operational flight of the GSLV with indigenous cryogenic stages. The mission life of NVS-01 is expected to exceed 12 years. ISRO has previously launched ten navigation satellites, with IRNSS-1H being the only unsuccessful mission. It was replaced by IRNSS-1I, which was successfully launched on April 12, 2018.

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