The Hindu : Front Page : GPS’ India equivalent in three years GPS’ India equivalent in three years S. Anandan Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System will cover the Indian Ocean region Kochi: The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the U.S., will be operational in three years’ time, K. Radhakrishnan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), has said. Inaugurating a two-day national seminar on “Innovations in electronics technology for futuristic communications,” organised by the Institution of Engineers (India) local centre, here on Friday, Mr. Radhakrishnan said a revolution was under way in the field of satellite navigation systems. “India is going in a major way in this area,” he said. The country will have a space-based augmentation of the GPS system Gagan (GPS-aided Geo-augmented Navigation, which the Indian Space Research Organisation [ISRO] has developed with the U.S. defence major Raytheon), to start with. Gagan will be in place in a year and a half, and is primarily meant to aid precise landing of aircraft. “However, we plan to have our own IRNSS in three years. Covering the Indian Ocean region, this will provide positional accuracy of about 10 metres and is implemented using seven satellites, three in the geostationary transfer orbits and four in non-geostationary orbits,” he said. “Importantly, today we also have an international coordinating group under the United Nations Committee on Peaceful use of Outer Space that worries about interoperability among the GPS, the Russian Glonass, the European Galileo and (as it happens) the IRNSS.” On the major achievements of ISRO, he said by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan, the country would have at least 500 transponders, a quantum jump from the present 210 made available by 10 satellites. “Besides the present C-band, extended C-band and Ku-band, we are also getting into the higher frequency Ka-band providing ultra small aperture terminal communication that will revolutionise rural communication … Already, we have been able to connect a large number of hospitals — primary health centres in remote areas — to super-specialty hospitals,” he said. Later, speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the space agency was all set to test the indigenous cryogenic engine in the next flight of the GSLV (Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) in August or September. “We also have a series of PSLV [Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle] flights lined up and its next flight, scheduled for this July, will put a new Oceansat into the orbit to replace the existing one. This will have new payloads with ocean colour monitor and the scatterometer on board will give wind velocity in the Indian seas. This year will also see the launch of Resourcesat-II, besides the second flight of space recovery capsule. Preparations are also afoot to develop GSLV Mark III that can ferry a 4-tonne satellite into the geostationary transfer orbit. The launch will be in 2010 or 2011,” he said.