It is an autonomous regional navigational satellite system created by India to provide users with accurate position data.

 The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which is entirely under the supervision of the Indian government, has built the IRNSS. 

This type of navigation system is required since, in hostile environments, the availability of global satellite navigation systems like GPS is not guaranteed. 

Historical development of IRNSS: 

The project was given the go-ahead by the Indian government in 2006, with a target completion date of 2015–16. The first satellite of the constellation, IRNSS-1A, was launched on July 1, 2013, and the constellation's seventh and final satellite, IRNSS-1G, was launched on April 28, 2016.IRNSS was renamed Navigation Indian Constellation (NaVIC) by India's Prime Minister with the last launch of the constellation's satellite (IRNSS-1G).

About IRNSS: Eight satellites make up the IRNSS now, with three in geostationary orbit and five in geosynchronous orbit. It is anticipated that IRNSS-1I will take the place of IRNSS-1A, which was rendered useless when its three rubidium atomic clocks failed. 

  • The primary goal is to deliver accurate position, navigation, and timing services over India and its surrounding area.
  • The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a multinational organization coordinating mobile phone standards, has certified IRNSS.
  • It was approved for use in the Indian Ocean Region of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2020.
  • The next generation of IRNSS satellites would include in-house atomic clocks and improved navigation services, according to ISRO's plans.

IRNSS versus GPS: Similar to the well-known and widely used US Global Positioning System (GPS), IRNSS operates over the Indian subcontinent within a 1,500 km radius.

In theory, satellite constellations with more satellites offer more precise positioning data. The NavIC(8 satellites) can pinpoint location to an estimated precision of less than 20 metres, whereas GPS (24 satellites) offers a position accuracy of 20 to 30 metres.

Potential uses of IRNSS: Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation Disaster management.Vehicle tracking and fleet management (especially for the mining and transportation sector).Integration with mobile phones.Precise timing (as for ATMs and power grids).Mapping and geodetic data capture.

Significance of IRNSS:

  • It provides real-time data for two services: the standard positioning service available for civilian use, and the restricted service, which may be encrypted for approved users such as the military.
  • India joined the group of five nations with its global positioning system, including the US with GPS, Russia with GLONASS, Europe with Galileo, and China with BeiDou. 
  • India's reliance on foreign nations for navigational needs decreases as a result. 
  • It will support India's scientific and technological development. 
  • For the nation's sovereignty and strategic needs, it is crucial. 
  • In compliance with the Nirbhaya case ruling, the government mandated NavIC-based vehicle trackers for all national commercial cars in April 2019.
  • Qualcomm Technologies has introduced mobile chipsets that support NavIC.
  • Additionally, with in-depth coverage, sharing the project with the SAARC countries is one of its intended potential purposes. This would facilitate future regional navigation system integration and serve as a diplomatic courtesy from India to other nations.

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