Cartosat-2 satellite re-enters Earth, burns over Indian Ocean, says ISRO - Hindustan Times
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Cartosat-2 satellite re-enters Earth, burns over Indian Ocean, says ISRO

Feb 16, 2024 03:33 PM IST

ISRO achieves long-term sustainability of space activities with the successful disposal of Cartosat-2 which was functional till 2019.

The Indian Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed the atmospheric re-entry and subsequent demise of Cartosat-2, ISRO's high-resolution imaging satellite over the Indian Ocean on Wednesday.

 Preparations underway for the launch of ISRO's GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission, at the Satish Dhawan Space Station, in Sriharikota. (PTI)
Preparations underway for the launch of ISRO's GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission, at the Satish Dhawan Space Station, in Sriharikota. (PTI)

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The final prediction positioned Cartosat-2's re-entry over the Indian Ocean at 3:48pm on February 14, ISRO said in a statement on Friday.

Analysis showed that all major spacecraft components would burn up during atmospheric re-entry, ISRO added.

The successful de-orbiting of Cartosat-2 marks a significant achievement for ISRO in ensuring the long-term sustainability of space activities, the space agency said.

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Cartosat-2: India's eye in space

Cartosat-2, ISRO's first high-resolution imaging satellite of the second generation, was launched on January 10, 2007. It weighed 680 kg and orbited the Earth in a specific path at an altitude of 635 km.

Until 2019, it was vital to provide detailed images used in urban planning. Cartosat-2 was notable for its ability to capture data with resolutions finer than 1 meter.

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A 1m panchromatic CARTOSAT-2 image of Bangalore.(NRSC)
A 1m panchromatic CARTOSAT-2 image of Bangalore.(NRSC)

ISRO expedited the descent for space sustainability

Originally, Cartosat-2 was projected to take around 30 years to naturally descend from orbit. However, ISRO chose to decrease its perigee (the point in its orbit closest to Earth) using remaining fuel to adhere to international guidelines for mitigating space debris, the space agency said.

This decision aimed at minimising collision risks and ensuring safe disposal at the end of its operational life.

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Space debris- a growing menace

More than 25,000 objects larger than 10 cm are currently known to exist in Earth's orbit, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The estimated population of human-made object particles ranging between 1 and 10 cm in diameter is approximately 500,000. Additionally, the number of particles larger than 1 mm exceeds 10 crore. As of January 2022, the total mass of material orbiting the Earth has surpassed 9,000 metric tons, the US space agency said.

The unintentional collision in 2009 between the American communications satellite, Iridium-33, and the retired Russian spacecraft, Cosmos-2251, significantly increased the number of large debris in orbit. These fragments now account for one-third of all catalogued orbital debris.

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