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    India's Satnav Goes Out of Whack as Orbiting Atomic Clocks Break

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    Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was launched as a more accurate navigation system compared to the US' GPS system. However, some as yet unexplained technical failures have put the accuracy of the system into question.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) – The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has downplayed the failure of three atomic clocks onboard one of the satellites of the India’s home grown ambitious Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

    IRNSS is India’s rival to the US’ globally used GPS system which covers a wide swath of Asia and the Indian Ocean. ISRO officials have not been able to unearth the reason behind the failure of atomic clocks, however, it has planned a replacement satellite in the second half of this year. India created its own navigation system in April last year with the successful launch of its last of the seven satellites of IRNSS.

    The failure of three atomic clocks is not causing much worry to Indian scientists as they cited similar instance earlier this month in Europe, where three rubidium atomic clocks and six hydrogen maser clocks onboard Galileo failed.

    “The problem is only with the clock system of one spacecraft. The signals are all coming, we are getting the messages, everything else is working and being used, except the stability portion which is linked to the clock,” said ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar.

    Rubidium atomic clocks were manufactured by the Swiss company Spectracom. However, India’s CSIR-NPL has developed and transferred the critical technology of Rubidium atomic clock for space applications to ISRO.

    A model has been developed at CSIR-NPL and is undergoing further developments at Satellite Applications Center before being integrated in the payload of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite system.

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    Tags:
    satellite navigation system, navigation, satellite navigation, satellite, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India
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