After the failure of the GSLV-D3 launch, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Saturday morning flagged off the Cartosat 2B high resolution satellite's journey to Sriharikota.

The remote sensing satellite is now en route to Sriharikota from where it will be launched by PSLV-16, along with four other satellites, on May 9, T.K. Alex, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre told journalists after receiving a model of a small student satellite StudSat, which will be a co-passenger of Cartosat 2B.

The 700 kg. Cartosat 2B will carry a state-of-the-art panchromatic camera with a spatial resolution less than one metre — high enough to spot a car, for instance – and will have applications in urban and rural infrastructure development and management, Geographical Information System (GIS) and other areas where detailed mapping is required.

‘PICO' satellite

StudSat, the first-ever ‘PICO' (small) satellite, designed in India by a consortium of 13 students from seven colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad, weighs less than a kilogram. The payload of the satellite consists of a CMOS camera that has a ground resolution of approximately 90 metres. The mission life of the satellite is around six months and the total development cost was around Rs. 55 lakh.

The students, who had been working on this project for the last year and a half, said that it was like “a roller coaster ride,” what with all the hard work they put into it and the momentous task of co-ordinating among themselves. The team was divided into various groups, each specialising in a particular aspect of the satellite: on-board communication, data handling, attitude, determination and control system, structure and ground station operations.

‘Stepping stone'

Chetan Dixit, who coordinated the team, said, “We don't consider this as ultimate success. To us this is just a stepping stone to further achievements. We will now be involved with the pre-launch work, which though not technical, is very important.” Alsat, an Algerian satellite, and two Canadian nanosatellites will also be launched by PSLV-16.

Governor of Karnataka Hans Raj Bhardwaj; the former ISRO chairman, U.R. Rao; Project Director for Satellites, ISRO D.A.V Murthy; and Yelahanka MLA Vishwanath spoke on the occasion.