The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully executed the PSLV C38 launch mission today, with the the sixth satellite in the Cartosat series as part of the payload. The rocket's payload also included 30 nano satellites. Here is an introduction to the Cartosat satellites that have already been launched and their functions. The order is reverse chronological.
1. Cartosat 2E
Launched today, the Cartosat 2E weighs 712 kilograms and has an operating lifespan of 5 years approximately. Deployed at an orbital height of 505 kilometres, the satellite will be used mostly for cartographic observations including defense surveillance. According to ISRO, Cartosat 2E can detect objects at a resolution level of 0.6 metres.
2. Cartosat 2D
The Cartosat 2D is ensured a place in space research history as it was launched in February 2017 along with 103 satellites as part of the PSLV C37 mission. It weighed 714 kilograms, and its dimensions and functions are similar to Cartosat 2E.
3. Cartosat 2C
In September 2016, the Indian Army announced that it had carried out a "surgical strike" on terror camps situated across the Indo-Pakistan Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. A key component of the strike was surveillance from Cartosat 2C. Launched in June 2016, the satellite has a resolution of 25 centimetres. It was launched as part of ISRO's PSLV C34 space mission.
4. Cartosat 2B
There was a gap of almost six years between the launch of the 3rd and the 4th satellite in the Cartosat series. Cartosat 2B's panchromatic camera can be panned to 26 degrees to take photographs.
5. Cartosat 2A
The Cartosat 2A was launched exclusively for defense surveillance and its panchromatic camera can be tilted up to 45 degrees to capture images. The satellite was launched in April 2008 as part of the PSLV C9 space mission.
6. Cartosat 2
The first satellite in the series, Cartosat 2 was launched in 2007 as payload in the PSLV C7 mission. The satellite's on-board camera had a spatial resolution of less than 1 metre, and it can cover a swath of 9.6 kilometres in one image. The camera can be tilted up to 45 degrees.