What is GAGAN?
The GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation or GPS and Geo Augmented Navigation system (GAGAN) is a space-based augmentation system (SBAS) funded by the Indian government. Interestingly, Gagan is not just an acronym: it is also a Sanskrit word for the sky.
The GAGAN space transponder is due to be launched on 19th May 2011 on an Ariane-5 launcher from the European Space Agency (ESA) spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This will be the second attempt to get GAGAN into orbit. The first satellite was lost in the Bay of Bengal on 15th April 2010 along with its Indian GSLV-D3 launch vehicle.
In addition to the space-based transponder, the initial system will comprise eight reference stations located in Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Jammu and Port Blair, with the master control centre located at Bangalore.
The Indian government will use GAGAN as the basis of an autonomous regional navigation system to be known as the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). The system will improve navigational accuracy to 3m over Indian airspace, and will increase safety by allowing pilots to use a three-dimensional approach operation with course guidance to the runway. This is particularly important in areas such as India, which combines a high proportion of mountainous terrain with unpredictable and volatile weather patterns.
Before GAGAN is operational, designers of avionics GNSS receivers will need to test the performance of their products by simulating Indian airspace. If you’d like more information on this testing, contact your local Spirent representative.
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