India gets a sharper eye in the sky

Grand sight:  The multi-spectral Image of Jarhar Haripur, U.P., taken on June 27 by the Cartosat-2 series satellite.

Grand sight: The multi-spectral Image of Jarhar Haripur, U.P., taken on June 27 by the Cartosat-2 series satellite.

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.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2022 4:39:10 pm |