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Cartosat-3, with 'sharpest eye' of civil remote sensing satellites, to be launched on November 27

The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch Cartosat-3 on November 27. | File

The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch Cartosat-3 on November 27. | File  

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The advanced earth observation satellite is to be carried by PSLV-C47.

Advanced earth observation satellite Cartosat-3, which is due to be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR at Sriharikota in coastal Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday morning, will have the `sharpest eye' of civil remote sensing satellites in the world. It will be carried by PSLV-C47. Thirteen small satellites of two U.S. customers will be the secondary payloads.

A 26-hour countdown began for the launch began on Tuesday morning.

One of Cartosat-3’s cameras offers a ground resolution of 25 cm - this means it can pick up an object of a minimum of that size from a height of around 500 km.

Currently, WorldView-3, a satellite owned by US company Maxar, has the best ground resolution of 31 cm.

So far, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has orbited eight Cartosats since May 2005. Data from most of them, especially the last four Carto-2 series ones, launched in relatively quick succession in the last three years, are exclusively used by the armed forces.

The second one, Cartosat-2 of January 2007, breached the 1-metre threshold, which was an ambitious benchmark at that time.

The previous best view from a Cartosat was 65 cm, as put in the last three or four satellites in the Cartosat-2 series - 2C, 2D, 2E and 2F.

However, an existing policy allows only government and government authorised agencies to access ISRO's high-resolution imageries below a resolution of 1 metre.

Cartosat-3 ushers in the third generation of high-resolution `optical imaging' satellites that enable precise cartographic or mapping activities, apart from their unstated military use. 

A key feature of the Cartosats is that they help to detect changes in natural geographical or man-made features. Their cameras can `look back and forth' in an angle to generate continuous spot images.

While the ISRO does not discuss outside its mandate, it is frequently heard that imageries from Cartosat-2 series were used to plan and execute military operations – for example the trans-border `surgical strikes' across the Line of Control with Pakistan in September 2016 and in Manipur at the border with Myanmar in June 2015.

At 1,625 kg, Cartosat-3 is unusually heavy and more than double the mass of the previous eight in its class. Many new technologies have been built in, such as a highly agile or flexible camera; high-speed data transmission, advanced computer system and new power electronics, according to website Space Skyrocket.

According to the ISRO, “The imageries from [Cartosat series] satellites are useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, infrastructure planning, coastal land use and regulation, utility management such as monitoring road networks, water grids or distribution, creation of land use maps, among others.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 7:23:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/26-hour-countdown-begins-for-cartosat-3-launch/article30084342.ece

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