The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Navigation Centre, an important element of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), was inaugurated May 28. The INC has been established at the Indian Deep Space Network complex at Byalalu, about 40 kilometers from Bangalore, India.
IRNSS, an independent navigation satellite system being developed by India, will have a constellation of seven satellites that enables its users to determine their location and time accurately. These satellites will be positioned in geostationary and inclined geosynchronous orbits 36,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. IRNSS coverage will extend over India and the southeast Asia region. The satellites are equipped with high-precision atomic clocks and continuously transmit navigation signals to users.
As the focal point of many critical operations of IRNSS, the ISRO Navigation Centre (INC) is responsible for providing the time reference, generation of navigation messages, and monitoring and control of ground facilities including ranging stations of IRNSS. It hosts several key technical facilities for supporting various navigation functions.
Key to the navigation support is the time reference to which all ground systems and the satellite clocks are synchronized. This time reference is generated by the high-precision timing facility located at INC. This timing facility is equipped with high-stability, high-precision atomic clocks to provide stable and continuous time reference to the navigation system.
IRNSS will have a network of 21 ranging stations geographically distributed primarily across India. They provide data for the orbit determination of IRNSS satellites and monitoring of the navigation signals. The data from the ranging/monitoring stations is sent to the data processing facility at INC where it is processed to generate the navigation messages. The navigation messages are then transmitted from INC to IRNSS satellites through the spacecraft control facility at Hassan/Bhopal. The data processing and storage facilities at INC enable swift processing of data and support its systematic storage.
INC is connected to the ranging stations and to the satellite control facilities through two highly reliable dedicated communication networks consisting of satellite and terrestrial links. The hub for the satellite communication links is hosted at INC.
The INC was inaugurated by V. Narayanasamy, minister of state in the Indian prime minister’s office. Speaking on the occasion, Narayanasamy said he appreciated the commitment and dedication of Indian space scientists in realizing the objectives of the country’s space programme. The minister also gave away various awards instituted by Astronautical Society of India (ASI) and ISRO.