The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is alls et to launch a new navigation satellite, IRNSS-1H on 31st August, following the breakdown of clocks in the IRNSS-1A satellite, positioned in a seven-satellite constellation. Because of the deficiencies in three onboard atomic clocks that were responsible for providing positional information with the ground-based system, ISRO was literary forced to develop an improved version of clocks for its Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) satellites. As stated by ISRO is its recent statement, the new clocks will not be affected by the issues that the previous three atomic clocks experienced.
As officially announced, the IRNSS-1H, which will replace the defective IRNSS-1A, will be set out on board ISRO’s homemade rocket ‘PSLV-C39’ on 31st August. The primary aim of the new satellite will be to boost up the existing seven satellites of NavIC assemblage, without getting affected by the glitch that ruined the atomic clocks. As per the statement, given by ISRO earlier this year, three Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (RAFS) clocks, stationed onboard the IRNSS 1A – which is the first of the seven proposed IRNSS satellites were found to be defective. The satellite was launched on 1st July 2013, and later ISRO came to know that the three atomic clocks of the satellite were malfunctioned, and this resulted in the defectiveness of the entire satellite.
The onboard atomic clocks of IRNSS-1A are highly precise clocks that were intended to measure time regarding the vibrations in certain atoms. The atomic clocks were operated on an element, called rubidium, which was imported from Europe. Rubidium is Europe supplied kinfolk of sodium and potassium under an international treaty. The rubidium atomic clocks were among 27 clocks, imported from Europe for providing precise locational measurement and accuracy to the users of Navigation with Indian Constellation (NaVIC). Each of the NaVIC satellites is scheduled to have three atomic clocks, and the malfunctioned IRNSS 1A featured the first three of the set.
Now, as the clocks were later found to be faulty, the firm which imported the clocks has improved and rectified the atomic clocks in the IRNSS-1H. And as scheduled by ISRO, the new satellite will take off on August 31 aboard a PSLV rocket at 6.59 pm on August 31, 2017, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, Sriharikota.
As scheduled, the new IRNSS-1H will replace the malfunctioning clocks of the IRNSS-1A. As confirmed by ISRO, apart from the malfunctioning of the atomic clocks in IRNSS-1A, there are no other issues, found in the satellite. All other components are running correctly and are being utilised for satellite messaging. The breakdown of atomic clocks had no effects on the overall functioning of NaVIC, and with the replacement, everything will be alright soon.