A railway station in Rajasthan and eye-catching locations in Qatar and Egypt are among the early pictures beamed down by the the week-old Cartosat-2 series spacecraft.
The satellite, known as Cartosat-2E, is the third Indian remote sensing (IRS) or earth observation satellite that can send 60-cm resolution pictures from an orbit 500 km above the earth.
Primarily it will provide useful space-based data for town planners, creators of urban infrastructure, for agriculture and project monitoring, and for decision makers in Smart City and AMRUTH projects, said a senior official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Its applications apart, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar agreed that availability of high-resolution Cartosat-2E data to civil agencies would drive down import of remote sensing imageries from foreign EO satellites.
“[The new EO satellite] can definitely reduce imagery imports. We will work towards that. Its data will be more than adequate for a large number of applications,” he told The Hindu.
Cartosat-2E is the sixth and last of the second generation cartography themed series, which started in 2007 with Cartosat-2 and includes Cartosat-2A, 2B, 2C and 2D.
The last three are said to be exclusive for defence and security agencies. Cartosat-2E offers images of the same 60-cm resolution as 2C and 2D; the same feature is now available for the genuine use of civil agencies, mostly government agencies. That is — it can capture objects that are 60-cm wide or long.
Mr. Kiran Kumar did not mention import figures but explained that earlier, imageries had to be imported because Indian EOs offered only 1-metre resolution pictures. “Now there is the sub-metre availability which will make a significant impact.”
A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General for 2010-11 had noted that “the prices of high resolution satellite data in the international market were six times more than the prices of comparable products” of Indian remote-sensing satellites.
On the third-generation Cartosats, Mr. Kiran Kumar said they were working on Cartosat-3, the first approved spacecraft in the series.