India, late on Monday night, successfully launched into orbit the first of seven dedicated navigation satellites, IRNSS-1A, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the country's southeast coast, which will provide an alternative for currently available global positioning systems, and assist the country's navigation systems on land, sea and air.
IRNSS-1A, which will go around the Earth at a height of about 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles), blasted off exactly at 11:41 p.m. (2:11 p.m. EDT) on Monday, aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C22, or PSLV-C22, which is 44 meters tall, weighs around 320 tons, and completed its twenty-third successful flight on Monday.
The entire IRNSS constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed by 2015-16, the Indian Space Research Organization said, in a statement.
"All the seven satellites of the IRNSS are identical and the space agency will be rolling them out. Already the second one is getting ready for the year end or early 2014 launch," an ISRO official told India Today.
"Only when all the seven satellites are up in the space the whole system will come into play. The earlier we have the full system it is better for all. For instance by 2015, the first satellite - IRNSS-1A - will be nearly one-and-a-half years old and its remaining life span will be eight-and-a-half years.”
During its 10-year life span, IRNSS-1A will deliver applications ranging across terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, tracking of vehicles, guiding hikers and travelers, and visual-voice navigation for drivers, The Hindu reported.
IRNSS-1A, the first of seven satellites planned under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, or IRNSS, will be similar to other existing systems, such as the U.S.'s global positioning system with its 24 satellites, Glonass of Russia (24 satellites), Galileo of Europe (27 satellites), China's Beidou (35 satellites) and the Japanese Quasi Zenith Satellite System, which uses three satellites.
IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1,500 kilometers around the Indian mainland. IRNSS will provide two services -- Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services, which will be available only to authorized users.
A number of ground stations responsible for navigating, controlling and monitoring the satellites have been established in 15 locations across the country.
India is also planning to launch its communication satellite G-Sat14 in August, which will be followed by a mission to Mars, and the launch of another remote-sensing satellite later this year, India Today reported.
K. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of ISRO, said Monday's successful launch of the satellite marked "a new era of space applications" for India.