India’s strategic capabilities
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has strengthened its strategic capabilities with the latest high resolution images from CARTOSAT-3, providing the sharpest view of the ground. The premier space agency recently released images of the Qatar area captured by the panchromatic (PAN) cameras atop CARTOSAT-3. The images distinctly show Khalifa International Stadium, Aspire Academy and Old Doha International Airport in Qatar.
- Today, India has major security concerns related to cross-border terrorism, and several topography and terrain related problems along the western border.
- In this scenario, such high-resolution imagery is of great strategic significance particularly, over the region where India shares land and water border with adversary.
- The images were captured by CARTOSAT-3, Isro’s earth imaging satellite which was put into orbit last November.
- Its PAN cameras have a ground resolution of 25 cm (highest ever), which means its sensors can detect a feature of that size (25 cm) from an altitude of around 506 km in which it orbits.
- While it’s known that such high resolution imagery is not shared publicly and largely restricted for government and military use, it’s indicative of Isro’s growing capabilities.
- Since the border region is surrounded by thick vegetation and snow covered mountain ranges, a constant day and night monitoring of this region by satellites is crucial. However, there are challenges of time-gaps.
- Since, most of these satellites are in polar orbit and pass over any given point of the planet's surface at the same local mean solar time, they take more than a day to come over that spot again. So there is a time-gap.
- The revisit time for same location of a Cartosat satellite is more than a day. So, if there are a constellation of satellites, then they can contribute to more frequent availability of the imagery and adequate visibility of the areas of interest.
- People familiar with the development in defence ministry welcomed the development. This unlocks a lot possibilities for our personnel confronting challenges of infiltration of terrorists from across the border.
- Movements can now be detected with resources that we have but this opens up many more possibilities for us for securing our borders — all across, not just one sector.
- Apart from military use, the satellite would also provide an exhaustive, detailed map of the earth, boosting the currently available spatial and topographical data.
- This would be helpful in management and monitoring of land resources, urban planning, coastal studies and various surveys.
- CARTOSAT-3 is ninth satellite in the CARTOSAT series which have been developed by the national space agency to further advance its remote sensing and mapping applications.
- The first such satellite (CARTOSAT-1) was launched in early 2005 as part of the Indian Remote Sensing programme. The current satellite has a mission life of five years.