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.

What
  1. Today, India has major security concerns related to cross-border terrorism, and several topography and terrain related problems along the western border. 
  2. 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.
  3. The images were captured by CARTOSAT-3, Isro’s earth imaging satellite which was put into orbit last November
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 
  10. 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.
  11. Apart from military use, the satellite would also provide an exhaustive, detailed map of the earth, boosting the currently available spatial and topographical data.
  12. This would be helpful in management and monitoring of land resources, urban planning, coastal studies and various surveys.
Flashback
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.