India to launch satellite navigation system

GAGAN will place India in a select group of nations which possess such technology.

Updated: Aug 09, 2010, 21:46 PM IST

New Delhi: A satellite-based navigation
system to aid air traffic from Southeast Asia to Africa,
including over the high seas in the vast region, would be
launched tomorrow, placing India into a select group of
nations which possess such a sophisticated technology.

GAGAN or the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation to be
launched by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel would not
only help the civil aviation sector but also help in marine
navigation, search and rescue operations, rail and road
transport, survey and mapping as well as precision farming.
So far, only the US, Europe and Japan have developed
similar capabilities. GAGAN would fill the gap between the
European EGNOS and the Japanese MSAS systems to provide
seamless air navigation service across regional boundaries,
an official spokesperson said.

The system, developed jointly by the Indian Space
Research Organisation and Airports Authority of India, would
operationalise a satellite-based Indian Flight Information
Region in conjunction with all nations from Southeast Asia,
Gulf and West Asia and the eastern coast of Africa.

It would be based on a satellite constellation
consisting of 24 satellites positioned in six earth-centered
orbital planes, she said.

When commissioned, GAGAN is expected to provide civil
aeronautical navigation signals consistent with International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards based on the
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Panel, as part of
the Future Air Navigation System for the aviation sector.

GAGAN would benefit the sector in a major way,
including enabling aircraft to fly on direct straight-line

Currently, the planes fly over the land-based radars
which are not installed in a straight line. GAGAN would help
them navigate on a straight line as it is dependent on
satellite route guidance and thus enhance fuel savings.

The system would help in `precision approach` while
landing at all airports in this vast region.

It would not only result in savings on ground-based
radar systems, but also improve air traffic capacity through
reduced aircraft separation, that is more planes can be
accommodated in a limited airspace.

GAGAN would also enhance air-to-air surveillance and
provide minimum safe altitude warning, besides facilities for
controlled flight into terrain, the absence of which becomes a
major cause for aircrashes while landing.

The project involves establishment of 15 Indian
Reference Stations, three Indian Navigation Land Uplink
Stations, three Indian Mission Control Centers and
installation of all associated softwares and communication