India launches first satellite of navigation constellation

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An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has successfully launched India's first navigation satellite.

The first satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was successfully launched from Sriharikota launch site on 1 July. The launch marks PSLV's 23rd, and the 39th orbital flight for India's space programme.

PSLV is a four-stage launch vehicle, capable of putting 3,700kg (8,200lb) into low Earth orbit. The IRNSS constellation is headed to geostationary orbit, according to Flightglobal Ascend's database.

The IRNSS constellation, the first tranche of which will consist of seven satellites, is India's response to the USA's GPS, Europe's Galileo and Russia's Glonass systems. Though of great use to civilians, demand for precise location services are primarily driven by military users. Geopolitical rival China is in the midst of building its own Beidou navigation constellation.