India to launch sixth navigation satellite on Thursday

Chennai, March 7: India is slated to put into orbit its sixth navigation satellite on Thursday evening, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced here on Monday. The 1,425-kg IRNSS-1F - Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1F - would hurtle into space on board its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on March 10, the ISRO said.  The rocket will blast off around 4 p.m. from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km from here. This will be already the second rocket launch for India in 2016. The first one was on January 20 when a PSLV rocket put into orbit the IRNSS-1E satellite in text-book style. Till date India has launched five regional navigational satellites (IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, ID and 1E) as part of a constellation of seven satellites to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. Though the full system comprises nine satellites -- seven in orbit and two on the ground as stand-by -- the navigation services could be made operational with four satellites, ISRO officials had said earlier. Each satellite costs about Rs.150 crore and the PSLV-XL version rocket costs about Rs.130 crore. The seven rockets would entail an outlay of about Rs.910 crore. The entire IRNSS constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed in 2016 itself. The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013, the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014, the third on October 2014, the fourth in March 2015, and the fifth in January this year. The seventh satellite-IRNSS-1G- is expected to be launched in the second half of 2016. Once the regional navigation system is in place, India need not be dependent on other platforms.