The Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS-1A), the country’s first navigational satellite, is expected to start its navigation payload testing in a week, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairperson Radhakrishnan said. He was delivering the 48th annual convocation address at Bangalore University (BU) here on Thursday.

Covering an area of 1,500 km around the Indian mainland, it will render two services: the standard positioning service for civilian use, and the restricted service for authorised users. “Once the navigational satellite’s payload testing is done, it will help in the country’s strategic decisions.”

Dr. Radhakrishnan added that ISRO was also gearing up for the launch of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV- D5) in August, which would be “a culmination of two decades of efforts”.

On India’s first Mars Orbiter mission, set to be launched in October–November, Dr. Radhakrishnan said: “We need to negotiate many technological challenges. It is a voyage of nearly 300 days with a distance of 400 million km. If successfully executed, this mission will place India among three countries that have achieved this rare feat.”

Honorary doctorates

The former Union External Affairs Minister and Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, Shivakumar Swami of Siddaganga Math (Tumkur), singer B.K. Sumitra, former cricketer Gundappa R. Vishwanath, Chief Income Tax Commissioner K. Sathyanarayana, Sanskrit writer Vanitha Ramaswamy and former ISRO chairperson U.R. Rao were conferred honorary doctorates during the convocation.