The NVS-01 satellite

  • 29 May 2023

On May 29, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched the first of the second-generation satellites for its navigation constellation from Sriharikota using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket.

  • The satellite, named NVS-01, is part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), also known as NavIC.
  • Heaviest in the Constellation: This new satellite is the heaviest in the constellation, weighing 2,232 kg, compared to the previous satellites in the IRNSS constellation that weighed around 1,425 kg.
  • Rubidium atomic clock: The NVS-01 satellite incorporates a Rubidium atomic clock, a crucial technology developed by India.
  • The space-qualified Rubidium atomic clock, developed by the Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad, is a significant achievement, possessed only by a handful of countries.
  • Importance of Atomic Clock: The presence of the atomic clock onboard NVS-01 is particularly important as previous satellites experienced clock failures, resulting in the loss of location data. This affected the accuracy and reliability of the NavIC system. The introduction of the Rubidium atomic clock addresses this issue and ensures the provision of precise location services.
  • Transmit Signals in the L1 Frequency: The second-generation satellites will transmit signals in the L1 frequency, along with the existing L5 and S frequency signals.
  • This expansion of signal frequencies enhances interoperability with other satellite-based navigation systems and facilitates the use of NavIC in wearable devices and personal trackers that utilize low-power, single-frequency chips.
  • Life of over 12 years: The new satellites have an extended mission life of over 12 years, surpassing the 10-year mission life of the current satellites. This enhancement ensures longer operational periods and sustained functionality for the navigation system.
  • Applications of IRNSS Constellation: It has applications in public vehicle safety, power grid synchronization, real-time train information systems, and fishermen's safety.
  • Efforts are being made to expand its utilization in emergency warning systems, time dissemination, geodetic networks, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The integration of NavIC receivers in smartphone chipsets further facilitates its adoption.
  • Advantages of Navic as a Regional Navigation System: It is the only regional system among the four global satellite-based navigation systems, namely GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou.
  • NavIC signals provide higher accuracy, with open signals being accurate up to 5 meters and restricted signals offering even greater precision.
  • The coverage extends over the Indian landmass and approximately 1,500 km beyond, ensuring availability even in remote and challenging terrains.
  • In High Geo-Stationary Orbit: Unlike GPS, NavIC satellites are in high geo-stationary orbit, so they are always looking over the same region on Earth.
  • The signals reach devices in congested areas, dense forests, and mountains more effectively due to the 90-degree angle of incidence.