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Sep 28, 2007

India to Launch Own GNSS

India plans to launch its own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), announcing plans to have a regional system operational in 2011-12 the Economic Times reported today. G Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said his agency will launch seven satellites. Three satellites will be placed in geo-synchronous transfer orbit, while the other four would be in geo-stationary orbit.

The Times quoted Mr. Nair as stating that work has already begun on the system. The announcement calls into question the future of Indian cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). Two years ago, India agreed to partner with the up for partnering in the ESA in their Galileo satellite navigation system. However, the project is yet to get started due to infighting within the ESA over funding.

With only seven satellites, the Indian system could not provide the worldwide coverage provided by the Global Positioning System, already in place by the United States. India joins a growing list of countries that are working on their own GNSS. The ESA, China, and Russia are all working to implement their own GNSS. Currently, the U.S. is the only country with a GNSS providing 24-hour a day, world-wide coverage.

See also: Space Race Heats up as China Launches 5th Navigation Satellite
Galileo to be Grounded?
GLONASS to Top U.S.'s GPS, Putin Says