India will shortly join a select group of nations having its own satellite navigation system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) offering position, navigation and timing (PNT) services, an official of India's space agency said Wednesday.
"The IRNSS is a constellation of seven satellites - to be increased to 11 later - to offer PNT services that could be used by various organisations globally or regionally," said Suresh V. Kibe of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Speaking at the 98th Indian Science Congress held at SRM University in Kattankulathur near here, Kibe said there are two operational space navigation systems in the world -- US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) belonging to Russia.
He said that Europe's Galileo system and Chinese COMPASS system are also expected to be operational in the next five to ten years.
The PNT services find application in mobile phones, vehicles, aviation, maritime, emergency services, survey and others including military, Kibe said.
In the next 10 years, the number of navigation satellites is expected to be around 100, he said.
On ISRO's GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) project, Kibe said it will be used for landing of aircrafts with an accuracy of six metres and the target date of activating the system is 2012.
With the interests of space faring nations in exploring space colonization, emeritus professor P. Dayanandan said it is time for India to have a comprehensive space biology programme for self reliance and the success of current and planned space explorations.
He said 14 nations of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group hope that someday humans may live in other planets, most probably Mars and the most challenging issue is providing a permanent life support system.