India plans to loft its first navigation and timing satellite in June, the country’s top scientist says.

The first satellite of the seven-spacecraft Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will be launched on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C22) from the spaceport at Sriharikota off the coast of the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, according to the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), K. Radhakrishnan. Once launched, IRNSS-1 will be tested in orbit for nearly four months.

ISRO is preparing to launch the second IRNSS satellite three months after in-orbit tests of the first one are complete. The remaining five are due to launch over a 14-month period in 2014-15, the ISRO chairman says.

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system, designed to provide position accuracy of better than 10 meters over India and the region extending about 932 mi. around the subcontinent. It is designed to provide real-time position, navigation and timing services under all weather conditions for users including airlines, ships and observational posts, Radhakrishnan says.

“The constellation system provides two basic services: standard positioning service for civilian users and restricted service for authorized users,” Radhakrishnan says.

The navigation software is being developed at the satellite center in the south Indian city of Bengaluru.

With the launch of IRNSS, India will join the U.S., Russia, Europe and China in launching and operating its own satellite position, navigation and timing satellites.

ISRO has plans to launch at least 12 space missions over the next year, including a Mars orbiter in October/November.

PSLV photo: Agence France-Presse