ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 mission. (File photo: PTI)
ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 mission. (File photo: PTI)

Isro returns to launch-pad with high-resolution imaging satellite CARTOSAT-3

  • Cartosat-3 would lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, aboard PSLV-C47at 9:28 am on Wednesday, subject to weather conditions
  • Cartosat-3, weighing 1,625 kg, is the ninth satellite in the CARTOSAT series

NEW DELHI : More than four months after the launch of Chandrayaan-2, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has returned to the launch pad for its next mission –Cartosat-3 - which will take off early on Wednesday.

An earth-observation satellite, Cartosat-3 would lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, aboard PSLV-C47at 9:28 am on Wednesday, subject to weather conditions. The 28-hour countdown for the mission has already begun.

This will be the fifth launch of Isro this year and 49th flight of one of the most reliable rocket - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). An ‘XL’ version of the rocket with six strap-on motors is being used for the mission.

Cartosat-3, weighing 1,625 kg, is the ninth satellite in the CARTOSAT series which have been developed by the national space agency to further advance its remote sensing and mapping applications. The first such satellite (CARTOSAT-1) was launched in early 2005 as part of the Indian Remote Sensing programme.

Loaded with panchromatic (PAN) cameras with a resolution of 0.25 metres, CARTOSAT-3 is an imaging satellite with one of the highest resolution. It will provide an exhaustive, detailed map of the earth, boosting the currently available spatial and topographical data. It will help in the management and monitoring of land resources, urban planning, land use and land cover mapping, coastal studies and various surveys, apart from serving needs of the defence forces. It has a mission life of five years.

CARTOSAT-3 will separate from the mission module within 17.4 minutes of the launch from Sriharikota and will be finally injected into a Sun- Synchronous orbit of 509 km above the earth’s surface. This will allow the satellite to pass over a section of the earth at the same time every day.

The rocket will also carry 13 other commercial nanosatellites from the US as part of commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space. Twelve of these satellites are for earth observation, and one is for communications. The last commercial satellite will get separated from the module 26.5 minutes after the launch.

India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2 was launched on July 22 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota and attempted a soft landing on the moon on September 7. The mission consisted of an orbiter, Lander Vikram and Rover Pragyan.

Within 13 minutes of a powered descent, the ground station lost contact with Lander Vikram, which is believed to have made a hard-landing on the moon. All attempts to locate the Lander or to establish any contact with it have so far been unsuccessful. The orbiter continues to revolve around the moon, performing experiments.

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