SpectraTime, a company of the Orolia group, has won a contract valued at approximately €4 M to supply Rubidium Space Clocks to the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). The IRNSS, developed by the Indian Space Agency (ISRO), will consist of seven satellites. Three will be placed in geostationary orbit, with the other four in geosynchronous orbit. The constellation will also comprise a ground segment consisting of a Centre of Principal Control and ground stations, in order to follow the satellites and to guarantee the system’s integrity.

The Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System, whose first satellite could be launched in 2009, will be able to provide an absolute position with an accuracy of 20 m across the whole of India and to a distance of about 2,000 km beyond its borders.

SpectraTime atomic clocks will be at the heart of the system. The principle of navigation by satellite is based on the transmission of signals coming from at least four satellites to the users. To get very precise location data, these signals must be perfectly synchronized. The extremely precise measurement of time on board each satellite, achieved through embarked atomic clocks, is thus a central condition for the positioning performance of the system. In the framework of the IRNSS program, each satellite will have four SpectraTime Rubidium atomic clocks on board to reach a stability of less than 10 billionths of a second per day.

With this new contract, awarded to SpectraTime just four months after Giove-B – the second experimental satellite of the Galileo European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) – was successfully launched, the company is strengthening its competitive position on the fast-growing GNSS market.