Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is a regional navigation satellite system developed by ISRO to cater to India’s positioning, navigation, and timing needs.
NavIC comprises a constellation of seven satellites and operates through a network of ground stations that function round the clock.
Three satellites are in geostationary orbit at 32.5°E, 83°E, and 129.5°E, while four are in inclined geosynchronous orbit with equatorial crossings at 55°E and 111.75°E, with an inclination of 29°.
The ground network includes a control center, precise timing facility, monitoring stations, and two-way ranging stations.
NavIC offers two services: Standard Position Service (SPS) for civilians and Restricted Service (RS) for strategic users.
Its coverage includes India and a region up to 1500 km beyond the Indian border.
Significance for India:
NavIC is India’s unique regional satellite navigation system, distinguishing it from the four global systems like GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou.
NavIC signals offer better accuracy, with open signals being accurate up to 5 meters and restricted signals even more precise, compared to GPS’s 20-meter accuracy.
The high geostationary orbit of NavIC satellites enables continuous coverage over India and surrounding areas.
NavIC signals arrive at a 90-degree angle, making them easily accessible in congested areas, dense forests, and mountains.
The system finds various applications in national projects, including public vehicle safety, power grid synchronization, real-time train information, fishermen safety, and more.
ISRO’s plans to establish ground stations in Japan and France are expected to enhance NavIC’s accuracy, making it superior to GPS.
NavIC’s unique features, like high-angle signals and improved accessibility, make it a valuable asset for India’s diverse geographic conditions and critical infrastructural projects.