ISRO, India’s space agency on Saturday announced that it will be launching a navigation satellite on Thursday. The satellite will be launched from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite will be joining the mission to provide India’s own positioning system. The IRNSS-11 is going to join NaviC navigation satellite constellation in Earth’s polar orbit.
“The 43rd flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C41) will launch the Indian Remote Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS-1I) from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on April 12 at 4.04am,” the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced on their official website.
NaviC is India’s satellite navigation system which provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services. It covers India along with a region extending to 1500 km around it. NaviC will further be extended as it gains more powers with time. Furthermore, the system currently is powered by 7 satellites, with two additional satellites on the ground as stand-by.
The IRNSS-11 is going to be the eighth satellite to join the system to further expand its powers. NaviC was expected to be operational in early 2018 but due to failures of one of the satellites new operational dates have not been set. NaviC will provide two different services when it becomes operational. Standard service will be open for civilian use and a restricted service for authorized users is also featured.
The IRNSS-11 will serve as a replacement in NaviC’s constellation of satellites. It will replace the IRNSS-1H that failed to eject out of the PSLV rocket on August 31, 2017. The IRNSS-1H failed to reach its intended orbit as its heat shield failed to separate from the rocket. The shield should have separated after three minutes it was launched. But unfortunately even after waiting for 19 minutes, it did not happen. Hence, after seeing no method to communicate with the satellite ISRO scientists declared the mission unsuccessful.