IRNSS-1B is India’s second navigation satellite. A total of seven satellites will form the IRNSS constellation.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Saturday successfully boosted the apogee and the perigee of its navigation satellite, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS-1B), by firing the propulsion system on board the satellite for seven minutes and a half from 5.35 p.m.

Mission controllers at the ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) in Hassan, Karnataka, gave the command for the propulsion system, called the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), aboard the IRNSS-1B to kick-start it. At the end of 450 seconds of firing, the satellite’s apogee was boosted from 20,630 km to 24,760 km and the perigee went up from 283 km to 299 km, said M. Nageswara Rao, Project Director, IRNSS.

The IRNSS-1B is India’s second navigation satellite and it was put into its initial orbit of 20,630 km x 283 km by the ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C24) on April 4 evening. A PSLV had put the first navigation satellite called the IRNSS-1A into orbit on July 1, 2013. A total of seven satellites will form the IRNSS constellation. The ISRO will put into orbit two more IRNSS satellites before the end of 2014 and another three by the end of 2015, thus completing the constellation.

ISRO scientists said India had become a member of the club of the U.S., Russia, Europe, Japan and China by building these satellites. While the U.S’ GPS, the Russian GLONASS and the European Galileo are global navigation satellites which can be used by anybody anywhere in the world with the help of a receiver, the IRNSS-1B forms part of the regional navigation system which will provide positional information to users only in India and the region extending 1,500 km from its borders. In aerial navigation, aircraft will use the IRNSS satellites when they are cruising, approaching an airport to land or during landing. During these phases, the aircraft will know their position and flight direction accurately. The satellites will help the aircraft land on runway with an accuracy of 20 metres.

The IRNSS constellation will help ships navigate towards their destination through safe and short routes and in guiding them to enter harbours.

In land navigation, drivers of cars and trucks, with a receiver in their mobile phone, can reach their destination through the shortest route

In defence, the IRNSS will help missiles in accurately reaching their targets — be it a town or installation. They help missiles in “way-pointing” towards their target. If there are hills on a missile’s flight path, it will help the missiles circumvent the hills with the information received from the IRNSS. Air-launched missiles will use these satellites to know where they are and head towards their targets.

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