ISRO successfully launches 'replacement' navigation satellite IRNSS-1I

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ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) went to space from Sri Harikota, Andhra Pradesh at 4.04 am on Thursday. PSLV shot off the satellite into the orbit 19 minutes after takeoff. The first IRNSS satellite that had been launched was mired in technical difficulties when the atomic clocks, that were set in it, suddenly halted, which caused the satellite to fail.

The government's space agency, ISRO, will once again be attempting another satellite launch, right within two weeks of the previous GSAT 6A satellite's failure. The IRNSS-1I weighs 1425 kg at lift-off and is the ninth satellite in the IRNSS satellite constellation.

The Indian navigation network provides position estimates with a precision of about 66 feet, or 20 meters, to users in India and across a region extending up to 900 miles (1,500 kilometers) from its borders, according to ISRO. It will provide navigation, the time stamp of people and objects as well as provide accurate information about the position as well.

As aforementioned, this is the 9th launch in the IRNSS fleet, however, it is the 8th satellite in the constellation after its newly launched IRNSS-1H back in August developed problems and finally, it resulted in losing it after all.

ISRO officials said the rocket launched Wednesday was also the first to fly with propellant tanks constructed using a technique called friction stir welding, a more efficient manufacturing method used on SpaceX's Falcon rocket family and NASA's Space Launch System. IRNSS-1I also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.

He said IRNSS-1I was successfully placed in the designated orbit.

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Weighing 321 tonnes, the PSLV-C41 will put the IRNSS-1I into orbit 19 minutes and 19 seconds after lift-off. It aims to provide two types of services: Standard Positioning Services (SPS) - provided to all users - and Restricted Services (RS), provided to "authorized users". The former is for all users while the latter is an encrypted service only for authorised users.

People can use these services which are provided through a software application on a smart phone.

The Indian space agency also said NavIC is useful for merchant ships in their navigation and also during search and rescue operations.

In the road transport sector, NavIC helps commuters to traverse distances and also enables transport operators to track their vehicles. The second stage's Vikas engine will carry the rocket out of the atmosphere, at which point the heat shield that protected the satellite through layers of air will separate to reduce weight, at 113 km.

The agency is building expertise among private firms to meet its need of 70 large communication and earth observation satellites in the next five years and tap a global satellite market explosion.