India’s ISRO Launches Cartosat-3 Earth Observation Satellite Abroad PSLV Rocket

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched Cartosat-3 earth observation satellite, along with 13 commercial nanosatellites, abroad a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket on Nov. 27.

The PSLV launch vehicle lifted off from the Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) Sriharikota Range (SHAR) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 0928 Hrs (IST).

After 17 minutes and 38 seconds, Cartosat-3 was successfully injected into a sun-synchronous orbit of 509 km. After separation, solar arrays of Cartosat-3 were deployed automatically and the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

“Cartosat-3 is the most complex and advanced earth observation satellite built by ISRO”, said Kailasavadivoo Sivan, Chairman of ISRO. He added that it was a third-generation agile advanced satellite having high-resolution imaging capability.

The mission life of the Cartosat-3 is 5 years. Cartosat-3 will address the increased user demands for large scale urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development, coastal land use, and land cover, etc.

The PSLV-C47 mission also injected 13 foreign commercial nanosatellites, all from the USA, into their intended orbits. They were launched under commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the ISRO’s commercial arm.

Out of the 13, 12 are SuperDove earth imaging CubeSats (Flock 4p 1-12) from Planet Labs. The new SuperDove line features increased spectral bands and major improvements in satellite performance.

The 13th satellite, called Meshbed, is a 3U CubeSat built by Analytical Space Inc. (ASI) for on-orbit testing of Frequency-scaled Ultra-wide Spectrum Element (FUSE) antenna developed by MITRE Corporation in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The technology demonstration spacecraft is intended to pave the way for users on the ground to gain faster access to satellite data. The patented MITRE antenna that could help enable that application, as well as government missions including tactical communications and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

The PSLV-C47 mission is the 49th flight of PSLV and the 21st flight of the rocket in the ‘XL’ configuration (with 6 solid strap-on motors). This was the 74th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota and 9th satellite of Cartosat series.

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