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ISRO To Boost NavIC

Context

  • On the sidelines of the India Space Congress, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently revealed plans to extend the reach of NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) beyond India and not just to a limited area around India.
  • ISRO is also working on a number of NavIC enhancements in order to encourage more people to install and use it.

Relevance

GS Paper 2: Science and technology

Mains question

How can floods in India be transformed into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation? (250 words)


NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation):

  • NavIC, also known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is a self-contained indigenous navigation satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • NAVIC was approved in 2006 and was supposed to be completed by 2011, but it didn’t go live until 2018.
  • NavIC, which consists of 7 satellites covering the entire Indian landmass and up to 1,500 km from its borders, is designed to eliminate reliance on foreign satellite systems for navigation, particularly in “strategic sectors.”
  • NavIC’s application in India is currently limited to o public vehicle tracking, o providing emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into deep sea where there is no terrestrial network connectivity, and o tracking and providing information related to natural disasters.
  • The next step, according to India, is to include it in smartphones.
  • According to India’s draught satellite navigation policy 2021, the government will work toward “expanding the coverage from regional to global” to ensure NavIC signals are available anywhere in the world.

Competitions around the world

  • GPS: The primary distinction between GPS (which serves users worldwide and has satellites that circle the earth twice daily) and NavIC (which is currently used in India and adjacent areas) is the serviceable area covered by these systems.
    • Others: o In addition to GPS, there are three other global navigation systems: the European Union’s Galileo, Russia’s GLONASS, and China’s Beidou.
      • The Japan-operated QZSS is another regional navigation system that covers the Asia-Oceania region, with a focus on Japan.

India Space Congress (ISC) 2022:

  • The SatCom Industry Association (SIAIndia) is organising a three-day India Space Congress (ISC) 2022 in New Delhi.
  • ISC 2022’s theme is ‘Leveraging Space to Power Next-Gen Communication & Businesses.’
  • ISRO, Ministry of Defence, Niti Aayog, In-Space, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), and the Department of Telecommunication all support ISC 2022.
  • ISC 2022 announced a number of initiatives to showcase excellence in order to foster the growing interest in deep space tech startups in India.
    • By participating in the ‘iDEX 75 Space Challenges,’ which PM Modi announced at the Defence Expo, Microsoft will extend Founders Hub benefits to the 15 shortlisted startups.
    • As part of the Founders Hub programme, Microsoft provides free resources to help founders overcome the challenges that startups face.

In the near future, the NavIC will undergo the following significant changes:

  • Incorporating the L1 band into NavIC: Currently, NavIC is only compatible with the L5 and S bands and has struggled to gain traction in the civilian sector.
    • L1 bandwidth is part of GPS and is the most commonly used for civilian navigation.
  • Increasing the signal’s safety: Long Code and Short Code are the two types of codes. Currently, NavIC only provides short codes. To prevent the signal from being compromised, this must become Long Code for use by the strategic sector.
  • 5 new satellites will be launched to replace decommissioned NavIC satellites: The new launches (medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites) that will be launched in the coming months will make NavIC truly “global” like GPS.
    • NavIC satellites currently orbit the Earth in a geostationary or geosynchronous (GEO) orbit, approximately 36,000 kilometres away.
  • MEO orbits fall somewhere between GEO and LEO (LEO).

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