SRO successfully launched the GSLV rocket on May 29th, placing the NVS-01, first among the series of 5 satellites into geosynchronous orbit, marking a significant milestone for India’s space program to meet the navigation requirements of the country.
Previously, NavIC or IRNSS had launched a constellation of *7 satellites from 2013 till 2016 and became the fifth country to have regional navigation satellite systems to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign navigation systems like GPS. These satellites had dual-band GNSS systems i.e, L5 and S band frequencies to provide data for terrestrial, aerial and marine navigations.
With the launch of second-generation NavIC satellites, NavIC will provide enhanced features such as L1 band frequency, replacing the previous satellites that faced technical issues with atomic clocks, navigation payload and improved regional coverage.
India has been aggressively promoting NavIC to make it a mainstream service at par with GPS, the support for L1 band signals will further help the integration of NavIC signals to the smartphones in addition to the widely used GNSS (Global Navigation Systems). Qualcomm has been among the recent ones to manufacture chipsets for smartphones, Snapdragon 720G, 662 and 460, that can receive NavIC signals.
GAGAN, which was developed to provide the best possible navigational services to Indian airspace by correcting GPS signals, has an accuracy of ~3 meters. NavIC’s constellation covers India and its adjoining regions extending up to 1,500km from the country’s border and has a reported user position accuracy to be better than 20 meters which will further improve with corrections and over additional satellite launches.