by Madhumathi D S
The country’s ambitious GPS-like regional fleet of navigation satellites will not get completed before end-April, as the last and seventh spacecraft in the series has got delayed.
The spacecraft, IRNSS-1G, was planned for March 31. It is now planned to be launched towards the end of April, a delay that is not unusual in the Space arena.
Indian Space Research Organisation sources said the satellite was getting readied at the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bengaluru. The sixth one, 1F, was flown as recently as on March 10 from the Sriharikota launch site.
The seventh one would improve the coverage more than the final accuracy of location information, which was almost achieved, they said.
Much is anticipated of the uses of the Rs. 1400-crore IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System), which is aimed at improving positional and navigational accuracy on land, sea and in air within the country; and for everyday civil uses as well as defence and security affairs.
The first in the series, IRNSS-1A, was put in orbit in July 2013; each of the spacecraft is built to last for at least ten years.
P. Kunhikrishnan, Director of the launch unit, Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, confirmed that the centre was working towards the next launch, now planned for April-end.
“We have started the launch campaign for PSLV-C33 [the vehicle for IRNSS-1G] and all activities for launching it are on course. It will be launched from the [older] first launch pad [LP1],” he said.
ISRO plans to double its launch rate in a year by doing a flight a month.