News and discussions related to GLONASS and NAVIC


Nov 30, 2017
Space Time
Source : Indo-Russian Space Collaboration: GLONASS ground station in Bangalore; NavIC’s in Novosibirsk

Russia is planning to set up ground base stations in India for receiving communication signals of GLONASS. Similarly, ISRO will be allowed to set up IRNSS (now called NavIC) ground stations in Russia. This is another giant leap in Indo-Russian collaboration in the realm of space.

In an exclusive interview with Geospatial World, Vitaly Safonov, the General Deputy Director of Glavcosmos, a Russian state launch service provider and a subsidiary of ROSCOSMOS, said the arrangement is in line with the existing bilateral space ties between the two countries and it will go a long way in enabling better navigation signaling in both the countries.

In 2016, an MOU about joint placement was signed between ROSCOSMOS and ISRO on these lines. “Now, both sides have identified the locations for the ground stations. I think the Russian station will be located in Bangalore, and we offered Indian partners Novosibirsk city as the location for its station,” he added.

This agreement shores up the previous agreements signed in 2004 and 2006 when it was decided for that India and Russia will cooperate in the joint development of GLONASS-K and the launching of Russian navigation satellites GLONASS-M by a variant of Indian Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

GLONASS is a Russian navigation system that is similar to American GPS. It has 30 satellites in orbit so far. On the other hand, the ISRO’s NavIC is a regional navigation system with only seven satellites in orbit with plans to cover the sub-continent. “Today we are working on widening the ground station base and we are talking to several partners including India,” Safonov said, adding “It’s beneficial as India will have a ground station in Russia and the signal for GLONASS system and Navic system will be more precise and of course it will be better for the social and economic development of our countries”.

Deepening Indo-Russian collaboration in GLONASS would also boost India’s defence and provide the military with a reliable and compatible navigation, as a large chunk of Indian military hardware is Russian made.

Indo-Russian collaboration: Moon, Mars and deep space ::

For Chandrayan-2, India’s second moon mission, ROSCOSMOS and ISRO signed an agreement for joint lunar exploration and research, Safonov said. Russia was to provide the lander for the project, but it got delayed and Russia withdrew after the failure of Fobos-Grunt Mars mission which compelled ISRO to develop the lander also indigenously. The Chandrayan-2 is expected to be launched in 2018.

However, a few setbacks and reversals have impacted neither the scale and magnitude of collaboration nor dampened the will and enthusiasm for more technology transfer and joint projects.

Safonov also spoke about Mars and deep space cooperation, adding that “It is no secret that we are looking forward and planning to go to Mars and deeper space. Manned space programs will go to the moon and to the Mars, and we are allies in this project”.

To raise awareness about space and provide more opportunities to youth interested in space sciences, India and Russia collaborated in YouthSat, a dedicated satellite for university students that was built using Indian Mini Satellite-1 bus with the scientific purpose of a better understanding of earth’s surface and experimentation of energy in the earth’s crust. The first YouthSat was launched in 2011 from Sriharikota.

Accentuating the need for greater global cooperation in space, Safanov said “Today’s situation is that the world is globalizing and space cannot be away from that process. Nowadays every space agency, every country that is a player in the space market has its own constellation of earth observation satellites. But of course there is cooperation like an exchange of data from earth observation satellites and also receiving signals from different countries constellation of satellites.”

An enduring partnership ::

India and Russia have a long history of successful projects in space area and the cordial ties and multi-sectoral bilateral collaboration between the two countries date back to the Soviet times when the erstwhile USSR was the staunchest ally of a newly independent India.

“It starts with the launch of the first Indian satellite on a Soviet launch vehicle Vostok. Now we are also cooperating with Indian partners in different areas of space, earth observation, and communications,” Safanov pointed out.

Since the inception of the Indian Space Program, envisioned by the visionary Dr Vikram Sarabhai at a time when India was deficient in almost all aspects of technology, infrastructure and capability, Russia (then USSR) has actively supported Indian space program and provided it with both technical expertise and logistic support.

Being the first nation in the world to launch an artificial satellite in outer space in 1957, the Soviet Union was a space superpower and its assistance helped India tremendously.

Aryabhatta, India’s first satellite was launched on April 19, 1975, from Kapustin Yar, a rocket testing facility in Astrakhan region of Russia, on a Soviet Kosmos-3M rocket.

India’s second satellite, Bhaskara I, an earth observation satellite, was also launched with significant Soviet assistance. In 1977, ISRO developed an experimental laser Optical 1 with technical assistance from its Soviet counterparts.

It was Indo-Soviet space cooperation that made Rakesh Sharma the first Indian to travel to outer space aboard a Soyuz T-10 in 1984.

After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and the subsequent ending of the cold war, Indian and Russian ties in space further picked up the pace in 1994, with the signing of an agreement between ISRO and ROSCOSMOS, the Russian space agency.

The Russian angle in GSLV ::

In fact, it is the Russian offer for collaboration on the cryogenic technology that led to US banning ISRO’s GSLV rocket way back in 1992. Glavcosmos was to provide the technology as per an agreement signed in 1991 but backed out of the deal after the US imposed sanctions in 1992. At that time, the US government wanted the deal to be called off because it felt it violated some terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime, a multilateral export control regime that US and Russia both are signatories to. The US government feared that India was making war missiles – a hollow charge since till date it isn’t practical to use cryogenic engines to power missiles.

In his book, India’s Rise as a Space Power, Prof U.R. Rao, former ISRO chairman, speculates that the embargo was the result of the commercial threat ISRO was starting to pose to NASA. “While the US did not object to the agreement with Glavkosmos at the time of signing, the rapid progress made by ISRO in launch vehicle technology was probably the primary cause which triggered [the sanctions],” Prof. Rao wrote in his book.

With Russia backing out, the project faced severe delays, and ISRO finally developed the GSLV indigenously.

Interestingly, with ISRO now ready with GLSV MK III, which is capable of launching up to 4,000-kg satellites into space, it was announced a few months back that the heavy rocket will launch the NASA-ISRO joint satellite – called NISAR – in 2021.
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Dec 1, 2017
Yet another evidence of the strong geo-political alliance , the alliance has now moved towards equal partnership which is even better for both. The laughable China-Russia-Pakistan triangle is laughable and hope the western arms lobby stop reporting issues of mistrust between India and Russia.

Russia is planning to set up ground base stations in India for receiving communication signals of GLONASS. Similarly, ISRO will be allowed to set up IRNSS (now called NavIC) ground stations in Russia. This is another giant leap in Indo-Russian collaboration in the realm of space.

More :- Indo-Russian collaboration: GLONASS ground station in Bangalore; NavIC’s in Novosibirsk


Well-Known member
Dec 4, 2017
Ban galore
CAG flags delay in desi GPS system; Isro chief says it's for industry to take it forward

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has flagged delays in ISRO's ambitious India's indigenous GPS programme called NAVIC saying an expenditure of over Rs 1,283 crore had already been incurred on it but the system has yet to be operationalised.

n its report on department of space (DOS), tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the CAG noted that delay in realisation of the 'desi' GPS programme would limit the duration of their utility once it becomes operation as "life of a navigational satellite is 10 to12 years and the satellites already launched under the programme remained idle for over 14 months to four years".
Though the space segment has been completed, NAVIC remained non-operational due to non-completion of ground segment and user segment. There were delays in realisation of key components under the programme which led to idling of the satellites", said the report.

The delays were attributed to non-execution of contracts, deficient monitoring of programme, revision in technical specifications and inadequate follow up.
While some of the causes for the delay were unforeseeable and beyond the control of ISRO or DOS, a substantial part of the delays were attributable to inadequate follow-up, lack of coordination with government and other agencies as well as sheer administrative laxity", said the federal auditor in its report.

Asked about CAG's observation, ISRO chairman K Sivan said, "With the launch of seven satellites, the NAVIC is very much operational. Data from the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is very much in public domain. ISRO has not only developed a micro chipset to be used for navigation purpose, but also designed a miniaturised version of the micro chipset to be used in navigation devices. We are working on further miniaturisation of the chipset to be used in very small navigation devices. We are working on further miniaturisation of the chipset to be used in very small navigation devices."

He said, "Isro has also designed and developed the receiver for accessing the navigation system data. We have developed the space infrastructure for the navigation system, now it's for the industry to mass-produce this chipset to be used in navigation devices."

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Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
New Delhi
India Resets Navigation Satellite Developed to Replace GPS

India had started the process of developing its own indigenous navigation satellite system after the US refused to provide GPS data to the Indian armed forces during the Kargil war with Pakistan in 1999.

New Delhi (Sputnik): India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 43rd flight (PSLV-C41), successfully launched the IRNSS-1I navigation satellite from the Sriharikota launch pad on Thursday morning. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has thus successfully replaced India's first navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1A, whose 3 Rubidium atomic clocks had stopped functioning two years ago, with the IRNSS-1I.

The IRNSS-1I (Regional Navigation Satellite System-1I) will join the constellation of seven satellites that form an autonomous regional navigation satellite system called NavIC, which provides critical foolproof satellite-based navigation signals for both civilian and military purposes.

"I am confident that the NavIC constellation will serve the underprivileged and unserved for years to come. I am really grateful to the entire ISRO family for having worked this hard and making IRNSS-1I a success," K Sivan, chairman of the ISRO, said after the mission was declared a success.

This was the second attempt by the ISRO to replace the faulty satellite IRNSS-1A since the first attempt was doomed due to a heat-shield failure of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in August last year.

Like all other IRNSS satellites, the IRNSS-1I also has a lift-off mass of 1,425 kg and carries two types of payloads — a navigation payload and ranging payload.
The Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) system is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide positional information in the Indian region and 1,500 km around the Indian mainland. The ISRO claims that NavIC is way more accurate than its foreign competitors and intends to offer a navigation system for commercial purpose from next year onwards. NavIC will provide a standard positioning service to all users, including mobile service providers, with a position accuracy of five meters. The GPS, on the other hand, has a position accuracy of 20-30 meters.

The navigation payload is operating in L5-band and S-band. Rubidium atomic clocks are part of the navigation payload of the satellite. The ranging payload of IRNSS-1I consists of a C-band transponder, which facilitates an accurate determination of the range of the satellite. It also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for LASER Ranging.
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Senior member
Dec 3, 2017

What is regional navigation satellite system or IRNSS that India is 4th nation to have​

On November 11, India became the fourth country in the world to have its independent regional navigation satellite system recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as a part of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS).

The navigation system can now replace GPS in the Indian Ocean waters upto 1500 km from the Indian boundary. The process of getting the recognition for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System based on satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation took about two years. Merchant vessels in Indian waters can now use the “modern and more accurate” system as an alternative navigation module, said Director General of Shipping, Amitabh Kumar.

What is the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System?

The IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to assist in the navigation of ships in the Indian Ocean waters. It could replace the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) in the Indian Ocean extending up to approximately 1500 km from the Indian boundary.

What does the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) recognition of the IRNSS mean?
The IMO is the United Nations’ specialised agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the IMO recognised the IRNSS as a component of the World-wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) during its 102nd session held virtually from November 4 to November 11. With the recognition as a component of the of the WWRNS, the Indian navigation system is similarly placed as GPS, most commonly used by marine shipping vessels across the world or the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). After the US, Russia and China that have their own navigation systems, India has become the fourth country to have its independent regional navigation system. Unlike GPS, however, IRNSS is a regional and not a global navigation system. According to the Directorate General of Shipping under the Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, this is also a “significant achievement” towards the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

Who can make use of the IRNSS?
While the system will be open to all including security agencies, officials of the Directorate General of Shipping said as of now, all merchant vessels including small fishing vessels are authorised to use the system. Vessels that have transponders installed in them will be tracked by satellite navigation showing accurate position in the Indian Ocean region. According to Director General of Shipping Amitabh Kumar, at any given time, there are at least 2,500 merchant vessels in Indian waters that can all use the IRNSS. The IRNSS, he said, is a modern and more accurate system of navigation. The system is based on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) satellites that are used for navigation.

Why was it necessary for India to have its own navigation system?
Kumar said an overdependence on one system (GPS) cannot be safe. The IMO, he said, had encouraged countries to design their own navigation systems. The recognition accorded to IRNSS was in the process for two years. Details of the tests carried out on merchant ships with regard to the accuracy of the system were included in the report prepared by ISRO which was submitted to IMO for consideration. After a detailed analysis, the sub-committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) of the IMO, during its 7th session held in January 2020, recommended to the MSC of IMO that it accepts the IRNSS as a component of the WWRNS. The recognition was accorded earlier this month. The IMO issued a circular on November 11 announcing the recognition of the IRNSS to its member states.
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