New Delhi: After establishing a pioneering position in the world with its game-changing space program, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has certainly made its mark as one of the front-runners in the space race.
Now at par with and giving tough competition to its global counterparts, ISRO has a lot in its kitty to contribute to space research.
After its last big launch of the Cartosat-2 series and 30 co-passenger satellites in June this year, the Indian space agency announced the launch of its eighth navigation satellite – as a spare or back-up for its constellation in the geo-orbit – earlier this month.
The launch, as per ISRO's announcement was scheduled for the end of August. On Wednesday, the space agency began the 29-hour countdown of the launch of IRNSS-1H which will join the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation.
The 1.4-tonne satellite will be launched aboard the PSLV-C39 rocket on Thursday, August 31, from the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) spaceport at Sriharikota off the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km northeast of Chennai at 7:00 pm.
It will serve as a replacement to the IRNSS-1A, all three of whose atomic clocks have failed.
As per a report in the Times of India (TOI), ISRO said that the Mission Readiness Review (MRR) committee and Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) gave the nod for the countdown on Tuesday. The first satellite as part of the IRNSS was launched on July 1, 2013 and the next one (IRNSS-1I) is scheduled for an April 2018 launch.
Once fully functional, the IRNSS will be useful for the railways, survey and alignment, providing location-based services among other things.
The Indian Air Force (IAF), will also be replacing GPS with IRNSS on its fighter planes. It will also aid disaster management, vehicle tracking and provide other services, TOI reported.