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India to launch GAGAN satellite-based navigation system


Jaimon Joseph,CNN-IBN
Aug 12, 2010 at 12:07pm IST

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New Delhi: India is set to launch its own satellite-based navigation system - GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation or GAGAN.

In the next five years the Indian airspace will get more crowded and the chances of accidents may increase. To reduce the chances of future air disasters, India has endeavoured on the GAGAN project for traffic and directional guidance from outer space.

"The scope for GAGAN extends far beyond Indian borders. It reaches up to Africa and south East Asia. It is a huge airspace that we can monitor with this technology," says Praful Patel, minister of state for civil aviation.

The GAGAN project receives GPS signals from international satellites, but it boosts their accuracy, locking a plane's position anywhere in India to within three meters.

This is made possible by tracking satellites from 15 locations across India and comparing and correcting their data in Bangalore.

When this refined data is beamed to pilots, they will be able to navigate without fear even in bad weather and land at geographically tough airports like Mangalore and Leh. Pilots will also be able to plot shorter, direct flights to destinations. With exact information on plane location, more flights can land safely at airports every hour.

To remove India's dependence on foreign GPS signals, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch seven Indian satellites in the next five years.

When ISRO's satellites are placed into orbit, India will join an elite club that includes USA, Russia and European Union, who run their own GPS networks.

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