Space agency ISRO today successfully launched its fifth navigation satellite IRNSS-1E onboard the workhorse PSLV-C31 at Sriharikota, taking another step to be on par with US-based Global Positioning System (GPS).
In a precise textbook launch, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C 31 blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, about 110 km from Chennai at 9.31 am and released the satellite into the orbit 19 minutes and 20 seconds later.
As the rocket soared into the clear blue sky at the end of 48-hour countdown, all the four stages of PSLV executed their functions as programmed, to the joy of ISRO scientists at the mission control centre.
After the satellite’s injection into geo synchronous transfer orbit, the two solar panels of IRNSS-1E will be automatically deployed in quick succession.
The Master Control Facility in Hassan (Karnataka) would then take control of the satellite to perform orbit raising operations.
IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, comprising seven satellites, which would be on par with the US-based GPS once the full complement of spacecraft is launched.
While four satellites would be sufficient to start operations of the IRNSS system, the remaining three would make it more “accurate and efficient“.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the dynamism of scientists on the successful launch.
IRNSS-1E has a configuration similar to its predecessors IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C and 1D and carries two types of payloads — navigation and ranging payloads.
The navigation payload will transmit navigation service signals to the users and operating in L5-band and S-band, while the other comprises a C-band transponder that facilitates accurate determination of the satellite range.
IRNSS-1E has a lift-off mass of 1,425 kg and carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging and a highly accurate rubidium atomic clock (also part of the navigation payload of the satellite).
The four satellites already launched include IRNSS-1A on July 1, 2013, IRNSS-1B on April 4, 2014, IRNSS-1C on October 16, 2014, and IRNSS-1 D on March 28, 2015.
ISRO scientists plan to put all the seven navigation satellites in to the orbit by March 2016.
The mission life of IRNSS-1E is 12 years.