Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System – The IRNSS

GPS systems are known worldwide and are used daily in many areas of life, but in addition to the American GPS, there are other positioning services, some of which are only used in certain countries. These were developed, among other things, to make themselves independent; a good example of this is the IRNSS system, which is operated and used in India. It is designed exclusively for use within the country and is only intended to work outside the country’s borders up to 1500 kilometers away. This is a positioning system with an Indian constellation.

What is IRNSS?

The abbreviation IRNSS describes an Indian navigation system called indian regional navigation system, the term is based on the term Navic, which means sailor in the Indian official language Hindi. It is short for Navigation Indian Constellation or Navigation with Indian Constellation and is only used regionally. It is used to determine position, similar to other known satellite systems.

The development of such technology has been a topic of discussion for some time, including cooperation with existing satellite systems. In 2006, cooperation on the Galileo project and its co-financing by the Indian government was called into question, with the possibility of Chinese access to data being a particularly important aspect. Consideration was also given to using the existing Russian GLONASS system, but the coverage was not considered ideal, so this cooperation failed.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

The IRNSS program was to be known under the abbreviation Navic or Navik before its development. In2004 , the Indian space agency ISRO proposed its own satellite navigation system. The costs and effort involved in independent development are high, but the Indian government approved the implementation of the project proposed by ISRO in May 2006. The project was implemented at a cost of around EUR 247 million. The main reason for this was to become less dependent on the US GPS system.

Following the development of the satellites and the implementation of the project, the satellites were placed in orbit. Three of the seven satellites were placed geostationary, the others were also positioned in a geosynchronous orbit, but at an inclination of 29° to the equatorial plane.

The coverage does not extend very far beyond the country’s borders, but the vision was that coverage in the country itself and in neighboring countries would be better than with GPS. IRNSS promises an accuracy of up to 20 meters thanks to independently developed satellites. Seven satellites of the regional navigation program are currently in orbit. As this is a regional project, the ground station and the receivers for terminals are to be producedexclusively in India, making the company independent of navigation satellites and technology from other countries.

How IRNSS works

With IRNSS, a technology has been developed whose system works exclusively in India, requiring aconstant line of sight to the ground station in India, which means that coverage in India itself is excellent. The system is to be used exclusively by India, covering only a 1500 to 2000 km wide belt on the earth’s surface. The system consists of two different services, which are broadcast in parallel, one on the L5 frequency at 1.17645 GHz and one in the S-band at 2.492028 GHz.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System vs. GPS

What these satellites are used for

The indian navigation satellite system is designed to enable navigation and positioning in India. As the system is used exclusively in India, the country is becoming less dependent on its competitors. Unlike GPS, however, it cannot be used globally, but offers limited use.

Difference to GPS

Compared to other competing systems such as GPS or the European Galileo system, its use is limited to the respective country. The number of satellites is also significantly smaller for IRNSS, but this is sufficient for the project. In contrast, the USA ‘s global positioning system provides a positioning system that can be used worldwide and also in combination with other systems. Other countries also offer such technology, as there is also the regional Chinese system Beidou, which is currently being expanded for worldwide operation. Most of the systems developed are designed for global application or cooperation with competitors, whereas IRNSS is clearly limited.

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