Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is scheduled to launch its first second-generation satellite, NVS-01, as part of the Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) services. The launch will take place on May 29 at 10:42 am IST from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Weighing approximately 2,232 kilograms, the NVS-01 satellite will be deployed into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and will perform orbit-raising manoeuvres to reach its intended orbit. ISRO has stated that NVS satellites will offer enhanced NavIC features, incorporating L1 band signals, and will also feature an indigenous atomic clock.
NavIC, formerly known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is a constellation of seven satellites. Three are placed in a geostationary orbit, while four are placed in an inclined geosynchronous orbit. The system provides the Standard Positioning Service (SPS), a real-time positioning and timing service for civilian users, as well as a Restricted Service for authorized users, including the military. The coverage area of NavIC extends beyond India’s borders up to 1,500 kilometres.
To improve the global positioning service (GPS) provided by the NavIC constellation, ISRO plans to replace at least five of the older satellites with improved L-band satellites. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath stated that five more satellites are in production and need to be launched periodically to replace the defunct ones. The new satellites will incorporate L-1, L-5, and S-Band signals. ISRO has also sought government permission to launch an additional 12 satellites to Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) to expand the reach of NavIC.
The current NavIC constellation operates in the L-5 and S bands, primarily serving the transportation and aviation sectors. However, the absence of the L-1 band, which is commonly used for public GPS applications, has limited NavIC’s penetration into the civilian sector. The upcoming satellites for NavIC will address this limitation and provide better features for secure signal transmission, particularly for strategic purposes. The inclusion of L-1 band signals is expected to enable NavIC to offer improved services to the public and facilitate a transition from a regional to a global navigation system.