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Monday, January 28, 2013

GAGAN: Air travel is going to cheaper, safer and accurate

A very good news for all Indians, who prefer to travel by air, either domestic or international. The air travel in India is going to cheaper, safer and faster in near future.

It is all due to the combined effort of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), AAI (Airports Authority of India) and Raytheon. The project GAGAN (GPS and geo-augmented navigation), the country’s space-based GPS augmentation system, which is going to be online from 2014.

Planned advantage:

  • Flyers may be arriving at their destination 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule.
  • Aircraft need not go zigzag but may go almost as the crow flies and burn less fuel and money. Airports can see less congestion, and fog may become a lesser evil.
  • GAGAN will increase safety by using a three-dimensional approach operation with course guidance to the runway, which will reduce the risk of controlled flight into terrain i.e., an accident whereby an airworthy aircraft, under pilot control, inadvertently flies into terrain, an obstacle, or water.
  • GAGAN will also offer high position accuracies over a wide geographical area like the Indian airspace. These positions accuracies will be simultaneously available to 80 civilian and more than 200 non-civilian airports and airfields and will facilitate an increase in the number of airports to 500 as planned. These position accuracies can be further enhanced with ground based augmentation system. 

With a Gagan-enhanced GPS device, aircraft will get far more accurate figures while landing, take-off and in-flight, say within 10 metres of the spot compared to the earlier figure of 70 metres.

All aircraft flying within and into the country need to install a small patch of sensor or receiver to get Gagan signals. New aircraft will come fitted with it, while older ones have to be retrofitted. It may cost airlines $2,000-5,000 apiece.

The project has nearly cost Rs.774 crore (US $141 million).

To begin implementing a satellite-based augmentation system over the Indian airspace, Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) codes for L1 frequency and L5 frequency were obtained from the United States Air Force and U.S Department of Defense on November 2001 and March 2005.

The system will use eight reference stations located in Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Jammu and Port Blair, and a master control center at Bangalore. US defense contractor Raytheon has stated they will bid to build the system.

Once Gagan gets going, India would join the U.S., Europe and Japan who have the same level of space-based augmentation. This would enable seamless air navigation across these regions

The ground segment for GAGAN, which has been put up by the Raytheon, has 15 reference stations scattered across the country. Two mission control centres, along with associated uplink stations, have been set up at Kundalahalli in Bangalore. One more control centre and uplink station are to come up at Delhi. As a part of the programme, a network of 18 total electron content (TEC) monitoring stations were installed at various locations in India to study and analyse the behaviour of the ionosphere over the Indian region.

Source: wikipedia and TheHindu.


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