ISRO's GSLV-F12 successfully deploys 2G navigation satellite

NVS-01 carried navigation payloads L1, L5 and S bands

PTI05_29_2023_000050B The ISROs GSLV rocket carrying navigation satellite NVS-01 lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota | PTI

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has accomplished yet another significant milestone as it successfully launched a second-generation navigation satellite into space. The GSLV-F12 rocket, equipped with a cryogenic upper stage, flawlessly executed the mission, reinforcing India's regional navigation system and providing precise, real-time navigation capabilities.

After a meticulous countdown spanning 27.5 hours, the 51.7-meter-tall Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle took off promptly at 10:42 am from the second launch pad at the spaceport, located approximately 130 km from Chennai. This achievement marks the 15th successful flight of the GSLV series.

The newly deployed navigation satellite, known as NVS-01, belongs to the second generation of navigation satellites. Its launch holds immense significance as it ensures the uninterrupted functioning of NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) services—an indigenous regional satellite navigation system akin to GPS, which delivers precise and real-time navigation services.

NavIC's signals are specifically designed to offer users positioning accuracy better than 20 meters and timing accuracy surpassing 50 nanoseconds.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath extended heartfelt congratulations to the entire team involved in the mission, acknowledging their outstanding efforts that led to the excellent outcome of the launch.

"NVS-01 has been placed in precise orbit by GSLV. Congratulations to the entire ISRO team for making the mission happen," he said in his post-launch address from the Mission Control Center.

Today's success came after the GSLV F10 'debacle,' he said referring to the anomaly in the cryogenic stage of the launch vehicle in August 2021, following which the then mission could not be realised.

He expressed joy that "corrections in cryogenic stage and lessons learnt have really paid benefits" and credited the Failure Analysis Committee for addressing the problem.

Somanath further said NVS-01 is a second generation satellite with additional capabilities. The signals will be more secure, civilian frequency band has been introduced, he said. This was one of the five of such satellites.

The rocket, a little short of 20 minutes after it took off, deployed the 2,232 kg satellite into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) at an altitude of about 251 km.

NVS-01 carried navigation payloads L1, L5 and S bands and the second generation satellite also has an indigenously developed rubidium atomic clock.

It is for the first time that an indigenously developed rubidium atomic clock has been used as the scientists earlier opted for imported ones to determine date and location.

Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre has developed the clock, and according to ISRO, it assumes significance as it is an important technology that only a handful of countries possess.

ISRO developed the NavIC system to meet the positioning, navigation and timing requirements of the country, particularly with regard to civil aviation and military requirements.

NavIC was earlier known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

"The L1 navigation band is popular for providing position, navigation and timing services for civilian users and for interoperability with other GNSS (global navigation satellite system) signals," ISRO said.

Some of the applications of NavIC include terrestrial, aerial and maritime navigation, precision agriculture, location-based services in mobile devices and marine fisheries, among many others.

NavIC offers two services -- Standard Position Service (SPS) for civilian users and Restricted Service for strategic users.

NavIC SPS signals are interoperable with the US global navigation satellite system signals, GPS, Glonass from Russia, Galileo (European Union) and BeiDou, China.

Monday's mission is the sixth operational flight of the GSLV with indigenous cryogenic stages. The mission life of NVS-01 is expected to be better than 12 years, ISRO said.

ISRO has already launched similar navigation satellites--IRNSS-1A,IRNSS-1B,IRNSS-1C, IRNSS-1D, IRNSS-1E,IRNSS-1F,IRNSS-1G, IRNSS-1H and IRNSS-1I.

Of these missions, IRNSS-1H was not successful as the satellite could not be placed into orbit. It was replaced by IRNSS-1I which was successfully launched on April 12, 2018. 

(With inputs from PTI)