India launches fourth navigation satellite
India successfully put into orbit its fourth navigation satellite with its own rocket on Saturday evening in copybook style.
Exactly at 5.19 p.m., the rocket - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle - (PSLV-C27) standing about 44 metres tall and weighing around 320 tonnes, roared into the bright blue clear evening sky trailing an orange plume.
The expendable rocket had a single but important piece of luggage: the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1D.
The rocket blasted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, around 80 km from Chennai.
For onlookers the rocket resembled an inverted flare/torch with a long handle as it gathered speed amidst the cheers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials and the media team assembled at the rocket port here.
At the rocket mission control room, Indian space scientists at ISRO were glued to their computer screens watching the rocket escaping the earth's gravitational pull.
The PSLV-C27 ejected the IRNSS-1D around 20 minutes into the flight. Immediately, scientists at the mission control centre were visibly relieved and started clapping happily.
Soon after ejection into orbit, the satellite's solar panels were deployed.
The satellite's control was taken over by the Mission Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka.
The MCF will manage the satellite's orbit raising operations by firing the on-board motors till it is placed in the circular geosynchronous orbit.
The system is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia (24 satellites) and Galileo of Europe (27 satellites), China's Beidou (35 satellites).
While GPS and Glonass are fully functional global systems, the Chinese and the Japanese systems offer regional coverage and Europe's Galileo is yet to be operational.
The IRNSS will provide two types of services - standard positioning service and restricted service. The former is provided to all users and the later is an encrypted service for authorised users.
With this success, India moved closer towards joining a select group of nations with its own satellite navigation system. - IANS