Isro launches Cartosat-2 and 30 other satellites

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) today successfully placed the Cartosat-2F satellite and 30 other smaller satellites in orbit even as it marked the launch of its 100th satellite.

The launch took place at 9:28 local time from the first launch pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, in Andhra Pradesh.

The 31 satellites were placed in two different orbits in one mission, in one of the keenly watched missions that comes after a failed launch in August last year.

This is Isro’s maiden launch of 2018, while also being the first launch after the unsuccessful launch of the IRNSS-1H satellite in August 2017, when the PSLV rocket’s heat shield separation failed to take place.

In its forty-second flight, the PSLV-C40 successfully placed the 710 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 1,323 kg at lift-off.

The co-passenger satellites comprise one Microsatellite and one Nanosatelite from India as well as 3 Microsatelites and 25 Nanosatellites from six countries, namely, Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and USA.

The 28 international customer satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), a Government of India company under Department of Space (DOS), the commercial arm of Isro and the international customers.

The images sent by Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, water distribution, the creation of land use maps and change detection to bring out geographical Land Information Systems and Geographical Information System applications, Isro stated.

It is the third satellite in the Cartosat-2 series and is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A, and 2B.

Cartosat-2F carries panchromatic and multi-spectral cameras operating in Time Delay Integration mode and is capable of delivering high-resolution data. The Cartosat-2 series satellite launch is a follow-on mission with the primary objective of providing high-resolution scene-specific spot imageries.

Isro’s Cartosat constellation consists of a series of satellites in sun-synchronous orbit making panchromatic and multispectral images of the Earth’s surface. The satellites are used for both civilian and military purposes.

The original satellite in the series, Cartosat-2, was a primarily civilian satellite. It was deployed in January 2007 and followed into orbit by the military Cartosat-2A in April 2008. Cartosat-2B was deployed in July 2010. These initial satellites carried only a panchromatic imaging payload, with the multispectral imager being introduced with the upgraded Cartosat-2C, which was deployed in June 2016. Further satellites Cartosat-2D and 2E were launched in February and June of 2017 as ISRO began to increase the size of the constellation.

Joining Cartosat-2F for the journey into orbit are thirty smaller spacecraft with a combined mass of over 600 kilograms (1,300 lb). These include Isro’s INS-1C and Microsat-TD. Indian Nanosatellite 1C (INS-1C) is an 11-kilogram (25 lb) spacecraft which carries the Miniature Multispectral Technology Demonstration (MMX-TD) experiment, an imaging payload for ISRO’s Space Applications Centre that will be used for mapping, vegetation monitoring and studies of aerosols and clouds in the atmosphere.

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