Today, at approximately 9:28 am IST (+5:30 UTC), India’s space agency ISRO launched Earth Observation satellite Cartosat-3, along with 12 of Planet’s Flock cubesats and Analytical Space’s Meshbed cubesat. The launch took place at India’s launch site at Sriharikota, using ISRO’s the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), ISRO’s workhorse launcher. This was the ISRO’s 49th PSLV mission.
Cartosat-3, ISRO’s third-generation Earth Observation Satellite, was launched to a 509km Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to an inclination of 97.5 degrees. The satellite has a liftoff mass of 1625kg and a design life of 5 years, and a panchromatic resolution of 0.25m will be used for urban planning, and rural resource and infrastructure development. It will replace India’s IRS series, which the still-operational Cartosat-1 is part of, and join existing satellites Cartosat-2, -2A, and -2B.
P. Kunhikrishnan, Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre said, “The realization of Cartosat-3 has witnessed a totally new development in the advanced technological area across the board, in all domains, right from the payload, the communication system, the optical system, the sensors and so on. The highest ever achieved spatial resolution of about a foot, and that too, with a much higher swath that demanded a very high data throughput…we have developed the highest data rate of 2.88 gigabits per second compared to 640 megabits per second.”
“Cartosat-3 is India’s highest resolution civilian spacecraft. It is also the most complex Earth Observation satellite ISRO has built so far…We have 13 missions up to March. They comprise of 6 launch vehicle missions and 7 satellite missions before March,” said ISRO Chairman K. Sivan.