Since ancient times, navigation tools have been considered the life breath of every exploration team that crossed miles of land and seaports to explore the world.
Counted as one of the most popular navigation tools of the sailors, the compass was necessary equipment to be kept at all times during sea explorations.
However, with time, several navigation equipment as well as systems have integrated themselves with their own unique USP and have now become a part of various sectors ranging from automotive, communication and even mapping services.
Satellite Navigation is one such sector that is now gaining enough popularity as we are getting connected at every step of life, especially in a developing country like India.
Popularly known under the umbrella term of Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), Satellite Navigation System in India technology is emerging as a great tool in communications systems as well as in mobile navigation applications like Google Maps.
Defining it in simpler terms, GNSS is a dedicated network of satellites that broadcasts timing and orbital information used for navigation and positioning measurements.
Particularly, the main topic of this discussion is mainly centered on Satellite Navigation System in India and How far has India’s Satellite Navigation System advanced since its launch?
Overview of Satellite Navigation System
Though paired together with Global Positioning System (GPS) often that is specifically based on providing time and location-based information to a GPS receiver which can be located anywhere on or near the earth’s surface, a Satellite Navigation System uses a network of satellites to provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning.
It also enables small electronic receivers to determine their exact location to high precision.
Also, GPS is a specific name that was first associated with the United States-owned NAVSTAR system.
GNSS on the other hand is an umbrella term used for global Satellite Navigation System.
Types of Satellite Navigation System
Although our main focus is on the Satellite Navigation System in India and How far India’s Satellite Navigation System advanced, here are some of the most popular Satellite Navigation Systems around the globe made specifically by a country.
The list includes,
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Specifically known as NAVSTAR GPS, it is composed of 24 satellites and was created by the U.S. Department of Defense. The system offers critical capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users worldwide.
Global Satellite Navigation System (GLONASS)
GLONASS is mainly composed of 24 satellites but was developed in the Soviet Union and is now operated by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces.
Another famous Satellite Navigation System, Galileo is developed by the European Union and European Space Agency intended primarily for civilian use all across the EU.
BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS)
Manufactured strictly under the Chinese government, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is a Chinese satellite navigation system that is composed of two separate satellite constellations.
Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS)
Developed by Japan, Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is a four-satellite regional time transfer system and Satellite Based Augmentation System for the Global Positioning System that serves the Asia-Oceanic region.
Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)
Manufactured by Indian experts, the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS), also called NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), is an autonomous regional Satellite Navigation System in India that is developed under the supervision of ISRO to provide standard services for civilian use and an encrypted restricted service for authorized users (military), to cover India and its surrounding region.
Satellite Navigation System in India
Aiming to achieve the goal of self-reliance, India’s satellite-based navigation and augmentation services sector is getting ready for a comprehensive and substantive policy for Satellite Navigation System in India that had been proposed in 2021.
The draft of this Indian Satellite Navigation Policy–2021 (SATNAV Policy – 2021) is already present on the official website of ISRO to seek public consultation.
This Satellite Navigation System in India policy is a part of the Department of Space’s (DoS) space reforms.
Termed a landmark achievement, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has successfully conducted a trial for an LPV-based approach to land an Indigo aircraft using GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation).
With this new Satellite Navigation System in India, GAGAN, India has become the first country in Asia Pacific Region to achieve such a landmark.
GAGAN is an indigenous based Indian Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) that has been jointly developed by AAI and ISRO.
Apart from aviation usage, GAGAN is also getting considered to utilize its services in non-aviation fields like Railways, Surveying, Power sector, Agriculture, Mining, etc.
As more and more experts and researchers are coming up with new ideas for advancing Satellite Navigation System in India, the road to stand on par with global giants is becoming shorter by the day.