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Despite Gsat-6A jolt, ISRO gears up for navigation sat launch on April 12

Despite snapping of the communication link with its recently launched communication satellite Gsat-6A, Isro is gearing up for the scheduled launch of its next navigation satellite IRNSS-1I on April 12.

Isro chairman Dr K Sivan told TOI that the “upcoming launches like of IRNSS-1I will not be affected because of the snapping of signal link with communication satellite Gsat-6A”.

While one team of Isro is busy with re-establishing the contact with Gsat-6A, the second team is busy in preparations for the launch of the navigation satellite, says a source in Isro.

IRNSS-1I, which will be launched by PSLV-C41 rocket from Sriharikota on April 12, will replace faulty IRNSS-1A navigation satellite, whose three Rubidium atomic clocks (meant to measure precise location data) had stopped working two years ago. IRNSS-1I weighing 600kg (dry mass) and a life span of 10 years will become the eighth satellite to join the constellation of navigation satellites called NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) or popularly known as IRNSS.

The seven-satellite indigenous navigation system is a smaller version of the American GPS, which with 31 satellites has global reach. The ‘desi’ GPS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary.

On August 31 last year, Isro tried to launch IRNSS-1H to replace faulty IRNSS-1A but the navigation satellite got stuck in the heat shield of the PSLV rocket during the launch. The satellite, still stuck in the heat shield and now declared space debris, is wandering in the near-earth orbit and will ultimately fall to the Earth.
On Gsat-6A, the space agency said efforts were on to resume communication with the satellite. Sources said there was no indication of any system malfunction or fluctuations during or after launch.

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