Sriharikota:In a landmark journey into a new era of space application, India on Monday successfully launched its first dedicated navigation satellite using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
The country's workhorse PSLV blasted off at 11.41 pm on Monday night and it ejected IRNSS-1A satellite and placed it in orbit a little past midnight, technically on Tuesday.
"IRNSS-1A, first of the seven satellites, constituting the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) space segment, was launched at a cost of approximately Rs 125 crore," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said after the launch.
Consisting of a space segment and a ground segment, IRNSS has three satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in inclined geosynchronous orbit and is to be completed before 2015.
Over Rs 300 crore is earmarked for the ground segment and almost all the satellites would cost Rs 125 crore, since all of them would most probably be identical, he said.
The launch was ‘very precise’ he said, adding that when the target of apogee was aimed at 20,650 km plus or minus 750 km, the rocket achieved an apogee of 20,625 km.

Mission spread over two days!

As India's first navigation satellite was successfully placed in orbit, a person present at the launch centre said this was the first time in the history of the Indian space agency that a mission literally took two days - Monday and Tuesday!

Exactly at 11.41 pm, the rocket - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C22 (PSLV-C22) - standing around 44 metres tall and weighing around 320 tonnes roared off. Twenty minutes into the flight - at 12.01 am (Tuesday) - the PSLV-C22 spat out IRNSS-1A - the first of the seven satellites planned under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

The rocket blasted off on Monday and the satellite was ejected on Tuesday, a reporter present at the media centre commented in a lighter vein. Though the rocket was meant to be very fast, "this was the first time in ISRO's history that a mission was spread over two days," he said.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan said that with the successful launch of the satellite, India had entered "a new era of space applications".

Series of satellite launches by March 2014

The Indian space agency has lined up a series of launches for this fiscal, including the silver jubilee flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C25 (PSLV-C25) carrying the Mars orbiter, a top official said.

"The Mars mission will be anytime after October 21 this year. As per plans after the ejecting the orbiter, it will start its Mars voyage around November 28 or 29," Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chairman K Radhakrishnan told reporters on Tuesday.

He expressed his happiness at the successful launch of India's first navigation satellite - Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1A (IRNSS-1A) – on Monday night.

Speaking about the other launches planned by the space agency this fiscal, Radhakrishnan said an advanced meteorological satellite - INSAT-3D - will be launched through the Ariane 5 rocket later this month. He said communication satellite GSat-14 will be launched through ISRO's heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) August 6.

Another communication satellite Gsat-7 will be launched by Ariane rocket this year and the satellite will be shipped to French Guiana spaceport. Radhakrishnan said another PSLV rocket is planned to carry a foreign satellite SPOT-7 sometime during December this year.

"In January 2014, GSLV Mark III experimental mission is slated. And there is also the launch of India's second navigation satellite IRNSS-1D in March 2014," Radhakrishnan said.

Asked about the revenue potential of the navigation satellite system that will come into play by 2015, Radhakrishnan said: "There is a large group of users for navigation systems.


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