Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an indigenous atomic clock that will be used in India’s very own navigation satellites so as to measure the precise location data. Currently, all the atomic clocks fitted with navigation satellites are imported from European aerospace manufacturer Astrium.
Reportedly, the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) has developed this atomic clock which is currently going through a series of qualification tests. Once all the tests are over, it will be used with an experimental navigation satellite to determine its accuracy and durability in space.
With the introduction of this desi clock, ISRO has become one of the few space agencies that have successfully developed such sophisticated technology. The space agency is hopeful that this piece of indigenous equipment is as good as the imported ones.
As per the reports, 9 out of 21 atomic clocks in the NavIC (Navigation in Indian constellation) fleet had failed after which ISRO decided that it would add buffers by equipping 4 more satellites with a desi atomic clock in each one of them. Currently, the agency is in the procedure of getting approval from the government regarding these 4 IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) satellites.
NavIC is aimed at providing reliable location and time information to the Indian civil and military users. And for this navigation system to work, the atomic clocks also need to work. The cost and timing of the new satellites haven’t been finalized yet.
Earlier on April 12, ISRO successfully launched Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1I to replace IRNSS-1A in which 3 atomic clocks had stopped working. Thus the IRNSS-1I was able to complete the constellation of 7 functional satellites to keep the NavIC operational.