India will launch its fifth regional navigation satellite on January 20, a top official of the country’s space agency said on Monday.
Once launched, it will help in disaster management, vehicle-tracking and fleet management, mapping and geodetic data capture, visual and voice navigation for drivers and others.
“We are loading fuel in the rocket for the launch of the fifth regional navigation satellite system (IRNSS-1E) on January 20 from our spaceport,” Indian Space Research Organisation director M. Annadurai told IANS at the Indian Science Congress here.
The space agency’s spaceport is at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, off the Bay of Bengal coast, about 80km northeast of Chennai.
The space agency will put the sixth (IRNSS-1F) and seventh satellites (IRNSS-1G) in the earth’s lower orbit in mid-February and by March 31 respectively.
The first four satellites were placed in observational orbit between July 2013 and March 2015.
The 44-metre polar satellite launch vehicle, a workhorse weighing about 320 tonnes at lift-off, will be used to carry the 1.4-tonne fifth spacecraft into orbit.
“The system’s first four satellites are already in use,” Annadurai said after addressing delegates on ‘Space Science, Technology and Applications’ at a plenary on the second day of the five-day annual science fair.
The Indian navigation satellite system will be similar to the global positioning system of the US, Glonass of Russia, Galileo of Europe, Beidou of China and Quasi Zenith satellite system of Japan.
“The system will provide two types of services – standard positioning services to all users and restricted services to authorised users,” Annadurai added.
The space agency has set up ground stations for generation and transmission of navigation parameters, satellite control as well as ranging and monitoring across the country.