The Indian Minister of State for the Space Department, Jitendra Singh, recently stated in Parliament that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) would equip all of its future satellites with the L1 frequency to promote the use of Navigate with the Indian Constellation (NavIC), the Indian version of GPS/Galileo/GNSS. NavIC is the Indian acronym for “Navigate with the Indian Constellation.”
In a written submission to Parliament, Singh stated, “The satellites beginning with NVS-01 will utilize the L1 spectrum for civil navigation.”
The seven satellites in the NavIC constellation use the L5 and S frequency bands to transmit position data. Designed to replace these satellites, the NVS-01 and later spacecraft will likewise have the L1 frequency. L1 is the navigation signal that has been in use the longest and is the most well-established. It may be received by civilian devices as essential as a wristwatch. As a result, given this range, there is potential for an expansion of the application of NavIC in civilian devices.
Although the ISRO navigation satellite system was approved in 2006 for 174 million dollars, the system became operational in 2018. At the moment, it is made up of eight satellites that can monitor the entire area of India and extend their range up to 1,500 kilometres from its borders.
According to the government, the Indian system is just as accurate as GPS. In his response to Parliament, Singh reaffirmed that “the performance of the Indian positioning system is comparable to that of other systems.”
NavIC’s primary functions are to keep an eye on public transit, to keep deep-sea fishermen apprised of any urgent situations, and to keep an eye on data relating to natural disasters.
The government is also looking to increase its usage of mobile devices, including smartphones. Reuters reported in September that the government’s encouragement of tech giants to make cellphones compatible with NavIC was causing concern for Samsung, Xiaomi, and Apple. These companies anticipate rising costs and disruptions due to the shift, which requires repairs to be made to equipment. According to the report, the government wanted devices to handle NavIC and GPS by January 2023, which was a timeframe that phone manufacturers considered too stringent.
In a nutshell, the government contends that India should not rely on location systems controlled by other countries, as these services can be turned off for civilians during times of emergency by those countries. Additionally, the creators of NavIC assert that it will have a higher degree of accuracy than other systems already in use.
ISRO aims to develop ground stations in Japan and France to triangulate the entire region covered by NavIC more precisely. This will be possible once the constellation has been ultimately operationalized and ground stations have been established outside India. The system may eventually achieve a higher level of precision than GPS. In contrast to the Global Positioning System (GPS), which India gets at an acute angle, making it more challenging to access dense forests and valleys, satellites stationed directly above India offer improved signal availability in various geographical regions.