India’s NAVIC satellite navigation system to rival US-made GPS
India took a major step towards indigenisation of its own Satellite Navigation System with the signing of an MOU between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and India's premier time keeper, the National Physical Laboratory.
Consequently, the country’s own regional positioning system named Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is closer to becoming a reality by linking it to the ground-based atomic clocks that determine the Indian Standard Time. Further, the move ensures India's strategic and crucial sectors are not dependent on US-made Global Positioning System (GPS) and add a level of precision and accuracy that was missing in the Indian system.
The move ensures India's strategic and crucial sectors are not dependent on US-made Global Positioning System (GPS).
The accuracy of satellite navigation systems depends on the proper synchronisation of on-board clocks. The time has to be extraordinarily accurate as light travels 30 cm in one nanosecond and any tiny error in the time signal could put a defined activity by a very long way. ‘Timing is important for crime detection and a fraction of a second makes all the difference. The NAVIC synchronises time and helps avert cyber crime,’ said Dr Jitendra Singh, one of India’s Minister of State.
While acknowledging the newly linked system will boost India's cyber security as well, the Director General, of New Delhi based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), told India's television channel NDTV, ‘One trilionth of a part of a second accuracy is necessary for such sophisticated things like launching satellites, tracking the movement of missiles across continents, and also in term of cyber security where within a fraction of a second thousands of emails and digital messages cross the continents.’