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Cartosat-2 launch today: Countdown for Isro's 'eye in the sky' begins

When Indian Army soldiers conducted surgical strikes, they had help from an 'eye in the sky'

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

ISRO, space research
People watch as as a rocket from space agency ISRO takes off successfully to launch a record 104 satellites, including India's PSLV-C37 earth observation satellite from the spaceport of Sriharikota. (Photo: PTI)

The 28-hour countdown operation of the PSLV-C38/Cartosat-2 series satellite mission started on Thursday at 05:29 hours IST.

This comes after the Mission Readiness Review Committee and Launch Authorisation Board cleared the countdown on Wednesday.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is gearing up to launch its Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation along with 30 co-passenger satellites.

Isro's workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its 40th flight (PSLV-C38), will carry these satellites into orbit. The rocket is scheduled to take off from the Sriharikota space port near Chennai at 9.29 am on Friday.

The rocket will carry the 712 Kg Cartosat-2 series satellite and 30 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 243 Kg at lift-off, into a 505 Km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.

The PSLV-C38 will be launched from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. This will be the seventeenth flight of the in its 'XL' configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).

The primary Cartosat-2 series satellite is a remote sensing satellite. The imagery sent by the satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and man-made features, and various other land information systems, as well as for geographical information system (GIS) applications.

The co-passenger satellites comprise 30 nano satellites from India and 14 other countries — Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The total weight of all the satellites carried onboard PSLV-C38 is about 955 Kg.

The 30 international customer nano satellites are being launched as part of commercial arrangements with Corporation Limited (Antrix), Isro's commercial arm.

What does the Cartosat satellite do?

When Indian Army soldiers crossed the Line of Control last year to conduct surgical strikes against terrorists, they had help from an "eye in the sky". Now, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is strengthening this capability by launching an belonging to the Cartosat-2 series tomorrow. 

The mission's primary objective is to provide high-resolution, scene-specific spot imagery. This is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series.

The satellite, the seventh in the Cartosat series, is capable of along-track and across-track steering, up to 26 degree nominally. This will allow it to provide images in continuous imaging mode.

Weighing 700 Kg, the satellite will be hurled into a sun-synchronous orbit at a nominal altitude of 500 km. The project has been allocated Rs 160 crore and the satellite is expected to help in the preparation of high-resolution maps using pictures from the panchromatic camera loaded on it. It will also have a high-resolution, multi-spectral instrument, which will help in high-resolution land observation and cartography, working in tandem with the Panchromatic camera.

Apart from taking pictures, it can also record videos from the sky. The pictures and videos would be helpful in a wide range of activities, including military and civil planning.

The images from the satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban & rural applications, coastal land use & regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and man-made features, and various other land information system and geographical information system applications.

The future earth observation programme envisages the continuity of the thematic series of satellites — the Resourcesat, Cartosat, Oceansat, RISAT, and INSAT series for land, water, ocean, and meteorological satellites. It also envisages placing a geo-imaging satellite in geostationary orbit to enable near real-time imaging.

The overall aim is to maintain the continuity of services and carry out enhancements in technological capabilities with respect to sensors and payloads to meet operational applications. In this regard, plans to design, develop and launch Cartosat-3 and Oceansat-3. In the future, will also launch more satellites from the INSAT series for meteorological applications.

Cartosat-1, the first in the series of earth observation satellites, was launched on May 5, 2005, using the PSLV-C6 launch vehicle, followed by Cartosat-2 on January 10, 2007. The launch of more satellites will help the country to become self-reliant and reduce the cost of getting such images from external sources.

First Published: Fri, June 23 2017. 01:04 IST
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