Bangalore, India: Undeterred by the failure of its cryogenic rocket mission last week, India is preparing to launch an advanced remote sensing Earth observation satellite in May. “We are going ahead with the schedule of launching the remote sensing Cartosat-2B satellite in the sun-synchronous polar orbit in May second week (8-10) by using a smaller rocket from our spaceport at Sriharikota,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director S. Satish told.
The 300-tonne polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C15) will inject the 690-kg Cartosat-2B in the Earth’s lower orbit at an altitude of 630 km. “Cartosat-2B will have a sophisticated panchromatic camera on board to take higher (0.8 metre) spatial resolution imageries with a swath of 9.6 km of specific spots for cartographic applications such as mapping, land information and geographical information system,” Satish said.
The Rs.100 crore (Rs.1 billion) rocket will also carry an Algerian satellite (Alsat), two nano satellites from Canada and a satellite – Studsat – built by college students from Bangalore and Hyderabad at a cost of Rs.5.5 million, as additional payload. The one-kg Studsat (student satellite) is designed to operate in low Earth orbit. Its payload consists of a camera capable of capturing images with a ground resolution of 90 metre.
“The satellite will send the image and telemetry data from the orbit to the ground station,” Satish added.
“Activities for the launch of PSLV-C15 carrying Cartosat-2B are progressing satisfactorily. All the solid propellant propulsion stages have been cast and assembled. Integration of propulsion stages is in progress,” Satish pointed out.
India’s attempt to test flight the indigenous super-cooled cryogenic upper stage engine failed nearly eight minutes after the 416-tonne geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-D3) deviated from the flight path at about 60 km and spun out of control to plunge into the Bay of Bengal along with the 2.2-tonne GSAT-4 on board Thursday.
“The failure of the cryo engine, though disappointing, has not affected the launch schedule of Cartosat-2B or subsequent launches of GSAT-5 and GSAT-6 later this year. The setback has resolved us to pursue other missions as vigorously as before,” Satish noted.
As part of the earth observation system, Cartosat-2B will augment the remote sensing capability of providing scene-specific spot imagery of its earlier versions such as Cartosat-2A, launched in April 2008, Cartosat-2, launched in January 2007, and Cartosat-1 that was launched in May 2005.
“The other three Cartosat satellites have been functioning well, providing operational services to the user community. The data from the satellites is being used for urban and rural infrastructure development and management as well as applications in land information system,” Satish recalled.