The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch four satellites this year, including two remote sensing payloads, from Sriharikota off the coast of Andhra Pradesh. ISRO chairman G. Madhvan Nair told reporters that the first launch was scheduled for the last week of April. This would place remote sensing satellite Cartosat-1 in the polar orbit with 2.5-metre resolution cameras for mapping applications. The 1300 kg Cartosat will orbit at a height of 620 km above the earth. The Cartosat-1 will be equipped with two sophisticated camera systems for cartography and taking stereoscopic pictures.
The space agency will also send a mini-satellite called Hamsat along with Cartosat-1 for boosting communication among amateur radio operators. The 50 kg mini-satellite will be carried by Cartosat-1 as a piggyback for deployment in the lower orbit. Hamsat will have two transponders, one made by ISRO and another built by Dutch amateur radio operators.
In the second half of the year, ISRO plans to launch Cartosat-2, which will be an advanced remote sensing satellite with a single panchromatic camera to undertake spot imageries for cartographic applications. And by the year-end, ISRO is scheduling to launch INSAT-4C from Korou with 18 Ku band transponders for providing dedicated broadcasting applications, including DTH services from 2006.