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April 28. At 12.50 pm sharp, a 44.4-metre-tall PSLV rocket, weighing 320 tonnes, blasted into the clear afternoon skies from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with a blazing orangered tail trailing behind. After zooming through the sky for nearly 20 minutes, the satellite IRNSS-1G was ejected from the rocket and injected into an elliptical orbit. It swiftly opened its solar panels.

Back home, the mission control room of Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) resonated with thunderous applause. The scientists who were till then glued to their monitors burst into cheers. India's mini GPS, a regional positioning system, was ready to be rolled out. 

IRNSS 1G has the same configuration like its predecessors, carrying two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1G will transmit navigation service signals to users. This payload will be operating in L5-band and S-band.A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite. The ranging payload of IRNSS-1G consists of a C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

According to an ISRO official, with the successful launch of the final satellite, over the next three to six months, all satellites would be stabilised as a constellation, their signals and performance verified and later put to use.The Government is terming this system as something developed for the purpose of better weather predictions for farmers and lake, the system could well provide to be more than just useful for the army as well.

India is now proudly among five nations in the world which have established their own satellite navigation system. Until recent times, India was reliant on GPS and systems from other nations, but now India is independent.

May -2-2016 (RK)

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