ISRO PSLV-C38 launch: India’s ‘eye in the sky’ lifts off today

The satellite is scheduled for lift off at 9.29 am from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.
ISRO's PSLV-C38 at the first launch pad in Sriharikota on Thursday.(PTI)
ISRO's PSLV-C38 at the first launch pad in Sriharikota on Thursday.(PTI)
Updated on Jun 23, 2017 08:20 AM IST
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Press Trust of India, Hyderabad | By Press Trust of India

India’s ‘eye in the sky’ is set to become sharper and wider with the launch of a third spacecraft in Cartosat-2 series —a dedicated satellite for defence forces—from the Sriharikota spaceport on Friday.

The previous satellite in the series had a resolution of 0.8 metres and the images it took on India’s neighbourhood had helped New Delhi carry out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control last year, ISRO sources said.

The latest remote sensing satellite slated to be launched on board PSLV-C38 on Friday morning has a resolution of 0.6 metres, which means it can spot even smaller objects.

“It can recognise objects within that square (0.6 m by 0.6 m)”, an ISRO official told PTI on condition of anonymity. “Defence surveillance will get a leg-up. It can be used in identifying terrorist camps and bunkers... some formations.”

Once this satellite becomes operational, it would be “handed over” to the defence forces, which have their own “set up,” including ground-stations and trained manpower to access data.

On the need to have a third satellite in the series, the official said, “The revisit time is the one which determines your data accessibility. More the number of satellites, the better and shorter revisit time you will have and more data you will get.”

“They (Cartosat-2 series) are agile satellites - agile in the sense they can take pictures of the place that you want, you can choose and programme it,” he said.

According to ISRO, the latest spacecraft is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series with the “objective of providing high-resolution scene specific spot imagery.”

The 28-hour countdown for the launch of Cartosat-2 series satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh began at 5.29 am on Thursday.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 40th flight (PSLV-C38), would launch the 712 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 243 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) at 09.20 hours tomorrow, the ISRO officials said.

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