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Cartosat-1 or IRS-P5 is a stereoscopic Earth observation satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit, and the first one of the Cartosat series of satellites. The satellite was built, launched and maintained by the Indian Space Research Organisation. Weighing around 1560 kg at launch, its applications will mainly be towards cartography in India. It was launched by PSLV-C6, on 5 May 2005 from the newly built Second Launch Pad at Sriharikota.[6] Images from the satellite will be available from GeoEye for worldwide distribution. The satellite covers the entire globe in 1867 orbits on a 126-day cycle. Adjacent paths are covered with a separation of eleven days.[7]

Mission typeEarth observation
COSPAR ID2005-017A
SATCAT no.28649
WebsiteCartosat-1 webpage
Mission durationPlanned: 5 years
Elapsed: 14 years, 3 months, 28 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass1,560 kg (3,439 lb)[2]
Power1100 watts[2]
Start of mission
Launch date5 May 2005, 04:44 (2005-05-05UTC04:44) UTC[3]
RocketPSLV-G C6[4]
Launch siteSatish Dhawan SLP[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Perigee altitude616 km (383 mi)
Apogee altitude621 km (386 mi)
Period94.72 minutes
Epoch19 June 2017, 12:23:51 UTC[5]
Cartosat series

Cartosat-1 carries two state-of-the-art panchromatic (PAN) cameras that take black and white stereoscopic pictures of the earth in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The swath covered by these high resolution PAN cameras is 30 km and their spatial resolution is 2.5 metres.


Department of Space, Government of India, has launched a series of satellites for Earth's resource management and monitoring. These satellites have been very successful in providing data in various scales ranging from 1:1 Million to 1:12,500 scale.[7] Each of the Indian Remote Sensing satellite missions ensured data continuity while introducing improvements in the spatial, spectral and radiometric resolutions. Considering increase demand for large scale and topographic mapping data DOS launched the Cartosat-1 in 2005. Cartosat-1 is dedicated to stereo viewing for large scale mapping and terrain modelling.



The Cartosat-1 satellite has two panchromatic cameras with 2.5 m spatial resolution, to acquire two images simultaneously, one forward looking (FORE) at +26 degrees and one aft of the satellite at -5 degrees for near instantaneous stereo data. The time difference between the acquisitions of the same scene by the two cameras is about 52 seconds.[7] The spacecraft body is steerable to compensate the earth rotation effect and to force both fore and aft cameras to look at the same ground strip when operated in stereo mode. The cameras are mounted on the satellite in such a way that near simultaneous imaging of the same area from two different angles is possible. This facilitates the generation of accurate three-dimensional maps. The cameras are steerable across the direction of the satellite's movement to facilitate the imaging of an area more frequently.


The images taken by Cartosat-1 cameras are compressed, encrypted, formatted and transmitted to the ground stations. The images are reconstructed from the data received at the ground stations. The National Remote Sensing Centre is responsible for acquisition, processing of data relayed by the Cartosat-1. A spherical Phased Array Antenna with steerable beam is used to transmit the data to the required ground station. A solid state recorder with 120 Gb capacity to store about 9 minutes of payload data is available for global operation of the payloads. The stored images can be transmitted when the satellite comes within the visibility zone of a ground station.

Optics & DetectorsEdit

Each Panchromatic camera consists of three 3 mirror off-axis all reflective telescope with primary, secondary and tertiary mirrors. These mirrors are made from special zerodur glass blanks and are light weighted to about 60%. These mirrors are polished to an accuracy of l/80 and are coated with enhanced AlO2 coating. In order to meet the high resolution and the swath requirement a 12K, 7 µm linear array CCD is used as a detector.[8]

Imaging capabilitiesEdit

Spatial resolutionEdit

  • 2.5 m panchromatic band (0.5-0.85 µm)[8]

Temporal resolutionEdit

The revisit rate for Cartosat-1 is five days.[8]

Radiometric resolutionEdit

The sensor collects data with a 10-bit sensitivity.[8]


30 km (PAN-F) and 25 km (PAN-A)[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "IRS P5 (Cartosat 1)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Cartosat-1". Indian Space Research Agency. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Cartosat 1 - Spacecraft Details". National Space Science Data Center. NASA. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "PSLV C6/IRS-P5/HAMSAT Mission Brochure" (PDF). Indian Space Research Organisation. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  5. ^ "CARTOSAT-1 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  6. ^ "PSLV-C6 launched from Sriharikota". The Economic Times. India. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b c NRSC: Cartosat-1
  8. ^ a b c d e Indian Remote Sensing Satellite Cartosat-1: Technical features and data products

External linksEdit