10 Facts to know about India’s own GPS: NavIC

Posted on Posted in TECHNOLOGY

NavIC GPS: India has recently announced the successful completion of launching ‘mini’ GPS. They call it as “NavIC”. With this NavIC GPS system in place over and above us, India joins the elite group of 5 nations who have their own GPS systems: US (GPS), Russia (GLONASS), Europe (GALELIO), China (BEIDOU NAV) and India (NavIC).

NavIC is the best epitome of Modi’s initiation of ‘Make in India‘ program. So, let us today know about this pride representation of India in a little detail:

NavIC – Mini GPS

1.  This NavIC GPS is not actually a GPS at all. Yes, GPS stands for Global Positioning System, which is American’s baby. GPS is a constellation of 31 active satellites which are surveying the whole planet. That’s why it is called Global. On other hand, NavIC is a Regional GPS which can serve only in and around India. So technically, it should be RPS (Regional Positioning System)

2. From the above fact, we can also rule out that “India entered an elite club of 5 nations having GPS”. No, India just has RPS which qualifies it for elite club of 3 nations having RPS: Japan, China and now India. You may also read one of our amazing posts Are Black Holes the key to Time Travel“.

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3. Ok, not Just for us. NavIC not only serves India, but extends up to 1500Km around Indian borders in all directions which covers most of the South East Asia. So, one good thing. We still love our neighbours as our villages taught us.


4. NavIC stands for Navigational Indian Constellation. Initially the program name was called as IRNSS – Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. But later the name was changed to NavIC, as a token of respect for Indian Mariners and Fishermen who used to navigate just with the help of Sun and stars in old times – says Modi.

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5. NavIC is in total a constellation of 7 Satellites. Out of which 3 are Geo-Stationary (constant in the orbit) and 4 are Geo-Synchronous (well, not so constant in the orbit).

6. It took 6 years and 1420 Crores to launch 7 satellites. Each satellite costed 150 Cr and each Rocket costed 130 Cr. The original idea started back in 2010, supposing to finish off the project in 2015. But as usual it got delayed with first satellite IRNSS-1A launched in 2013. Finally we pulled it off in 2016 with last satellite launch of IRNSS-1G in April 2016.

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7. NavIC serves only two major purposes: One Standard Positioning Service for commercial Civilian use (accurate up to 20 meters) and the other Restricted Service for military purpose (accurate up to 2 centimeters).

8. The party hasn’t started yet. Even though we have our own RPS on our heads now, we still need some time to configure, verify and test before the actual use. This may take some 4 to 6 months of time. So, may be by the end of December 2016, we can use it, if only not delayed again

9. And that’s not all. We have to manufacture new Navigational devices and mobile phones with Special Hardware to receive and transmit data from our NavIC. Currently, all our phones and GPS devices are using America’s GPS for all purposes. Including our Airports. But not anymore!

10. Only for 9 years. NavIC is functional only for 9.3 years because that’s it life span. ISRO is already making plans (3 more satellites) to back NavIC soon.

What’s after NavIC?

So, NavIC is done. We now have our own GPS. We mean RPS. And we also achieved a recent feat in global scale with MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) aka Mangalyaan. So, what’s Next ? Well they are plans like mission to Venus, asteroids and a lots of high tech space stuff, but only on papers. The authentic ones are Chandrayaan 2 – the next mission to Moon and Aditya-L1, the Mission to Sun to study its photo sphere. Well as you can guess, the first is ok but the second one is the real challenge to India.

Do you Know This?

With so many satellites up in the sky, surveying silently unseen, do you think you still have a privacy? When you step out of your home, at least 4 different satellites will be looking down at you from different place at same time. So, better be careful when you are kissing your partner next time behind a tree. They are Watching You !

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