M A I N   N E W S

With GAGAN, fog to be no bar for pilots
Special navigation system to get going by 2014
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 6
Tired of waiting at the airport for the fog to clear up so that your flight finally takes off? Well, 2014 promises to bring with it hope for air travellers.

By 2014, GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation), a satellite-based navigation system being implemented jointly by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will be in place to assist pilots to fly in Indian airspace and neighbouring areas without trouble even in bad weather conditions.

The system has already been integrated with the geostationary satellite GSAT-4. The satellite - proposed to be put in orbit by a GSLV rocket with an indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine - was slated for a December 2009 launch, put off first to January 2010 and now to March. However, the system will not become operational immediately.

“It will take three to four years for the system to become fully functional,” Dr Suresh V Kibe, Programme Director, Satellite Navigation, ISRO, told TNS. This is because satellite navigation payload will have to be integrated with at least two more geostationary satellites for comprehensive coverage by the system. However, by 2014, GAGAN would certainly become functional, Kibe said.

“The satellite and its payloads are all ready. A problem with the GSLV rocket is causing the delay in the launch,” a source associated with the GSAT-4 project said.

Since this will be the first flight by the indigenous rocket, ISRO does not want to take a chance with the launch and wants to make foolproof arrangements for its success.

Flight Management System (FMS) based on GAGAN will help operators save time and money by managing climb, descent and engine performance profiles. FMS will improve efficiency and flexibility of flights by increasing the use of operator-preferred routes. It will improve airport and airspace access in all weather conditions, and an aircraft’s ability to meet the environmental and obstacle clearance benchmarks. It will also enhance reliability and reduce delays by defining more precise terminal area procedures that feature parallel routes and environmentally suitable airspace corridors.



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