India launches 3rd-gen satellite that can boost military surveillance

Sriharikota: In a boost to its surveillance capabilities from the sky, India today successfully launched its third generation satellite Cartosat-3 that can look at objects just 30-cm in size on the ground.

India Space Research Organisation‘s (ISRO’s) time-tested Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C47, also succesfully placed 13 commercial nano-satellites from the United States, after its lauch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota (SHAR) here.

Photo: ISRO’s PSLV-C47 being launched for placing Indian Cartosat-3 in orbit.

Congratulations poured in soon after the launch, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and others.

With nearly 5,000 visitors watching, the PSLV-C47 lifted off in the morning from the second launch pad at the SDSC SHAR here. This was the 21st flight of the PSLV in its ‘XL’ configuration with six solid strap-on motors and the 49th in the PSLV series. This was the 74th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota and ninth satellite of Cartosat series.

Photo: ISRO’s PSLV-C47 launch vehicle ready at Sriharikota.

In less than 18 minutes of the launch, the Cartosat-3, an agile advanced satellite having high resolution imaging capability, was injected into a sun synchronous orbit 509 km at an inclination of 97.5 degree to the equator, ISRO said in its statement.

Soon after, 13 commercial nanosatellites from the US were also successfully injected into the intended, designated orbit. These satellites were launched under commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO.

After separation, solar arrays of Cartosat-3 were deployed automatically and the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

“Cartosat-3 is the most complex and advanced earth observation satellite built by ISRO,” ISRO Chairman Dr K. Sivan said. He also acknowledged the support from Indian industry.

The mission life of the Cartosat-3 is five years. Cartosat-3 will address the increased armed forces’ requirement, though it is not the stated objective, and the users’ demands for large scale urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development, coastal land use and land cover, which is the stated objective of the Cartosat-3.

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