India’s 6th eye in the sky

By Prof K Nageshwar | THE HANS INDIA |   Jun 24,2017 , 04:01 AM IST

(Picture used for representational purpose only)
(Picture used for representational purpose only)

Though sixth in the series of Cartosat-2 launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the latest earth observation module, positioned in orbit on Friday, is of crucial significance considering its potential in fortifying India’s defence capability apart from monitoring and flushing out terrorists holed up in inaccessible terrain.  

According to ISRO, the 712 kg satellite - Cartosat-2E  - with its capacity to capture high-resolution scene-specific spot imagery is specially built with panchromatic  (PAN) camera to take black and white pictures of the earth in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum with pivoting flexibility of 45 degrees. 

Translated into common slang, it means functional components that facilitate transcending distances and panoramic limitations. With its hi-fi ultra imaging ability, the Cartosat is equipped with the technology to monitor movements of enemy tanks in precise and minute detail. 

Considered the most powerful ‘eye’ in the sky among the Cartosat series, the latest module will also equip India to achieve self-proficiency and self-reliance in zeroing in on targets and capturing high-resolution, crystal-clear pictures, thus reducing the country’s till-date dependence on other sources for procurement of the desired images. 

Explaining its importance, ISRO Chairman Dr A S Kiran Kumar says the country was earlier compelled to buy some of the images and data from alternative sources.  But, even then the total time that any region was covered was very limited. If one had to cover the entire country at least once a year, more such satellites are needed. In the coming years, the need for high resolution data will only grow, particularly with the increasing monitoring activity both by states as well as the Center. 

In addition to strategic defence applications, the Cartosat with built-in Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) has been customised to provide a plethora of other topographical images of land use patterns, water sources and distribution, road network etc., which facilitate projections, predictions and decision-making process.  

ISRO’s achievement in positioning not just the sixth Cartosat with its invaluable value-added features into space, but also a slew of nano satellites from 14 countries comprising Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and US has rocketed it many notches in echelons of achievements in the global space segment. And, deservingly there has been a flood of accolades for ISRO scientists. 

The total weight of all these satellites carried onboard PSLV-C38 is about 955 kg. The 29 international customer nano satellites were launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), a Government of India company under Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of ISRO, and international customers. 

With another mission accomplished, the Indian Space Research Organisation has once again – as it has umpteen times – demonstrated its repertoire and amazing prowess in propelling India to the dizzying heights and become a space power to reckon with as evidenced by its growing number of global customers.  

Tags: Cartosat-2, ISRO
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