14:26 GMT25 January 2020
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    India will make another step toward creating its own satellite navigation system and catching up with Russia, the United States, China and Japan.

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — India will launch the fourth of seven satellites in its navigation system in a move to join the ranks of space-faring nations, a senior official in the Indian Space Agency said on Monday.

    The country now is three satellites away from having its own satellite navigation system (IRNSS) which will help ensure the security of its communications. Countries with similar systems include the Unites States, Russia, China and Japan.

    "The launch is tentatively planned for March 9 evening around 6.35 p.m. [00.05 GMT]. However final green signal for the launch will be given days ahead of the satellite launch," M.Y.S. Prasad, director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, part of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) told reporters.

    The satellite weighing 1,425 kg (3141 pounds) has already been tested and connected to the rocket, but the final test will be conducted on Wednesday. The Launch Authorization Board (LAB), which is part of the Indian Space Agency, will then approve the rocket’s launch.

    The first satellite, IRNSS-1A, was launched in July 2013. The next two were launched last April and October, respectively. The navigation system, comprising seven satellites, is expected to be completed by 2015.

    India will be the third of the BRICS countries to have its own navigation system, after China and Russia. At present, Brazil operates the Russian navigation system GLONASS, installed at the University of Brasilia. By 2016, the country is expected to launch its own Defense and Strategic Communications Geostationary Satellite (SGDC) system, with the aim of ensuring Brazil's sovereignty over the communications of its armed forces.

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    Tags:
    security, satellite, IRNSS, Glonass, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India
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