PSLV-C47/CartoSAT-3 mission: ISRO postpones planned 25 Nov launch, reasons for delay unclear

The timing of the launch remains the same, at 9.28 am IST, from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre.


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has postponed the launch of an Indian CartoSAT-3 satellite and 13 other American nanosatellites that will have been a part of the launch slated on 25 November. The revised launch date has been moved down by two days, now scheduled on 27 November at 9.28 am IST.

ISRO hasn't clarified why the postponement was necessary – whether an anomaly was discovered in CartoSAT-3 during pre-flight testing, in the PSLV-C47 launch vehicle, or suboptimal weather conditions.

PSLV-C47/CartoSAT-3 mission: ISRO postpones planned 25 Nov launch, reasons for delay unclear

The PSLV-C46 rocket lifting off from Sriharikota with RISAT-2B. Image: ISRO

The 13 nanosatellites from the US is a part of the commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the new company that was set up recently under the Department of Space.

Primary payload on PSLV-C47 – India's CartoSAT-3 satellite 

CartoSAT-3 is the third in a series of indigenous Earth observation satellites built by ISRO. With its highly-advanced remote sensing capability, CartoSAT-3 is a leap of advancement over its predecessor CartoSAT-2, with a wider spatial range (of view) and finer resolution (of up to 0.25 metres or 25 centimetres).

If all goes to plan, the satellite will be placed at an altitude of 509 km, at an inclination of 97.5 degrees by mid-day on 25 November.

CartoSAT-3 is undoubtedly one of the most advanced imaging satellites ever built by ISRO, with the capability to produce some of the most high-resolution aerial imagery in the world — certainly the highest of any ISRO satellites. It will also image across multiple spectra — panchromatic (captures all visible colours of light), multispectral (captures light within specific ranges in the electromagnetic spectrum) and hyperspectral (captures light from across the electromagnetic spectrum) earth observation mission.

A multi-spectral image captured by Cartosat-2 of Alexandria, Egypt on 27 June 2017, a few months into becoming an operation satellite. Image: ISRO

A multi-spectral image captured by Cartosat-2 of Alexandria, Egypt on 27 June 2017, a few months into becoming an operation satellite. Image: ISRO

Of the fourteen passengers on the PSLV-C47, thirteen are commercial nanosatellites from the US, part of a commercial arrangement between NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space.

ISRO also has two PSLV rideshare missions lined up in December 2019.

Customers with satellites on the PSLV-C46 and PSLV-C47 rideshare missions include Boston-based satellite communications company Analytical Space, American data and analytics company Spire Global, Cambodian small SAR-satellite manufacturers iQPS, and Luxembourg-based Kleos Space, according to a Spaceflight report.

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