India’s Cartosat-3 Plus 13 Nano Satellites Put In Orbit

The ‘sharpest eye in the sky’, India’s Cartosat-3, and 13 other nano satellites belonging to two companies in the U.S. lifted off successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, at 9.28 a.m on Wednesday, offering only a very brief glimpse of the PSLV C-47 before vanishing into the low-hanging clouds. The Cartosat-3 is a high-resolution imaging satellite that will help large-scale urban planning, infrastructure development, and coastal land use, among others. The satellite is also likely to have a military use since it provides the highest-ever spatial resolution of about a foot. The Cartosat-3 was separated about 18 minutes after lift-off and the customer satellites were injected into their orbits one by one and the mission was completed 27 minutes after launch. “This is India’s highest resolution civilian satellite and most advanced earth observation satellite built by the ISRO so far. The Cartosat and all the 13 other satellites were placed in a precise orbit,” ISRO chairman K. Sivan said from Mission Control after the successful exercise. The Cartosat-3 is the 9th satellite of the Cartosat series and ISRO’s fifth launch this year. One of its cameras offers a ground resolution of 25 cm, while the best ground resolution till now was 31 cm offered by WorldView-3, a satellite owned by U.S. company Maxar. The commercial satellites carried on board in the mission were launched under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL), the commercial arm of the ISRO. Mission Director S.R. Biju said the launch was unique since the PSLV was navigated for the first time using the indigenous Vikram processor designed by the ISRO and fabricated within the country. “We have our hands full. We have 13 missions up to March – six launch vehicle missions and seven satellite missions,” Mr. Sivan said.

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