[Insights into Editorial] – ISRO successfully launches CARTOSAT-3, 13 Nano-satellites
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its forty ninth flight (PSLV-C47), successfully launched Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial nanosatellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
This is the 21st flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with 6 solid strap-on motors).
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched advanced earth imaging and mapping satellite CARTOSAT-3 along with 13 other commercial nano-satellites for the US.
CARTOSAT-3, which is the ninth in the series, was launched from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota at the scheduled time of 9.28 am. This was the 74th launch vehicle mission from Sriharikota.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C47 carried the CARTOSAT-3 satellite along with the other commercial nano-satellites for the US.
The Cartosat satellites are earth observation satellites, used mainly for large-scale mapping of the Earth through high-resolution cameras.
It also helps to detect changes in natural geographical or man-made features. As their cameras can `look back and forth’ in an angle to generate continuous spot images.
The Earth-observation satellites also include the Resourcesat and RISAT series, the Oceansat series.
The Resourcesat and RISAT series of satellites, for example, provide images and data that are needed for land and water resources applications.
The Oceansat series and the SARAL satellite, meanwhile, produce data on the oceans.
The satellites like INSAT 3D, INSAT-VRR or Megha Tropiques study the atmosphere.
What is Cartosat-3?
Cartosat-3 is a third-generation agile advanced earth observation satellite with high-resolution imaging capability. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), it will replace the IRS series.
Cartosat-3 has a panchromatic resolution of 0.25 metres making it the imaging satellite with highest resolution and Mx of 1 metre with a high-quality resolution, which is a major improvement from the previous payloads in the Cartosat series.
Cartosat-2 was used to plan and execute military operations such as ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control in 2016 and the operations across Manipur-Myanmar border in 2015. Cartosat-2 has got resolution of 65 cm.
Applications of Cartosat-3:
- It will address the increased user’s demands for large scale urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development, coastal land use and land cover etc.
- In its annual report of 2017-18, ISRO laid out a very clear strategy of developing India’s Earth observation (EO) capabilities that is based on capturing different themes of land, water, cartography, ocean, atmosphere, and meteorology.
- New missions such as the Geo Imaging Satellite (GISAT), which will enable real-time imaging, alongside the established Resourcesat, Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT), Cartosat, Oceansat and the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) constellation make India’s fleet of EO satellites one of the most comprehensive remote-sensing data sets in the world.
Placing satellites in orbit is only the beginning:
- Satellites are essentially tools that can be used to achieve different objectives, from making observations meant to manage natural resources such as water, minerals and agricultural land, to gathering strategic intelligence on assets and developments across a range of areas of interest.
- Assets like Cartosat-3 are essentially tasked by civilian or military operators to provide insights that help support decision-making to achieve certain objectives.
- The traditional way of downloading satellite data involves using a ground antenna as the satellite passes overhead.
- The data thus beamed in is then downloaded into a localised data-storage facility.
- Depending on the sensitivity of the data or the nature of intended use, there are challenges in the way the data is then distributed to the stakeholder.
- Once the raw data is made available, there is a process to correct possible aberrations caused by factors such as stability of the satellite in-orbit, atmospheric disturbances, clouds, etc. After this is done, satellite images can be used to get the necessary insights.
India needs a cloud and computing strategy:
- Ultimately, satellites are just one among tens of data and intelligence sources, including good-old human intelligence, cyber intelligence.
- Having disparate data sources and using the resulting information in silos isn’t nearly as efficient as using them together, a process that can improve decision-making and improve the accuracy of insights.
- ISRO is doing a tremendous job of developing state-of-the-art satellites and equipping them with sensors that are generating data for the country.
- However, these satellites and sensors can only be of great value once they are integrated with other data feeds based on the requirements of end-users.
- Several countries, for example, are now using cloud and cloud-based computing strategies for agile decision-making.
- Depending on the end-user (civil or military), policymakers in India need to develop a strategy to use space and non-space data to keep abreast with such developments, and make sure we are not left behind in the race to extract crucial insights.
The Cartosat-3 which will have a mission life of five years will address the increased user demands for large scale urban planning, rural resource, infrastructure development, coastal land use, land cover etc.
Cartosat-3’s optical imaging will also help to detect precise cartographic or mapping activities.
Data from this satellite were also used to a do an inundation vulnerability assessment of the Indian coastline in the event of a tsunami or a major cyclone, and even for estimating the status of irrigation potential created by the large number of projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme.
For more details, watch following Video: