ISRO’s Cartosat 2C Satellite: The Key To India’s Surgical Strike

Images provided by the observation satellite helped the Indian army execute the mission successfully.


On Thursday, 28 September 2016, the Indian army carried out what it termed as a “surgical strike” on terror camps located across the Line-of Control in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK). According to some reports the ground images for this operation were provided by the recently launched Cartosat 2C satellite.
Cartosat-2 is an Earth observation satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit and the second of the Cartosat series of satellites. The satellite was built, launched and maintained by the Indian Space Research Organisation.


Cartosat 2C was made in Ahmedabad and launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on 22 June this year. It was one of the 20 satellites that were put into orbit in this historic mission. The data provided for the surgical strike was reportedly the first time that Cartosat 2C was used to provide high-resolution images of certain areas.
A surgical strike refers to a mission that aims to damage only the intended target without any collateral damage to any surrounding structure. This requires high-level intelligence information.
The Cartosat series of satellites, also referred to as the “Eye in the sky”, are designed to provide that data.
ISRO started the Cartosat program in 2005 with an aim to launch satellites with cutting edge technology that would provide observational data. Cartosat 2C has a resolution of 0.6 metres, which means that one pixel in a photograph provided by the satellite covers 0.6 metres. The satellite uses a panchromatic camera which captures images in black and white. Cartosat 2C can even record a minute-long video.
“We’ve been providing images to the armed forces, the army in particular,” a source from ISRO told TOI. “While I cannot comment if any specific image was sent on a particular day in the previous week, I can say that Cartosat images are meant for this purpose and the army has used this.”
Cartosat-2 Is an advanced remote sensing satellite with a single panchromatic camera capable of providing scene-specific spot imageries for cartographic applications. The camera is designed to provide imageries with better than one meter spatial resolution and a swath of 10 km. The satellite will have high agility with capability to steer along and across the track up to + 45 degrees. It is placed in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 630 km. It will have a revisit period of four days. The re-visit can be improved to one day with suitable orbit manoeuvres.
Several new technologies like two mirror on axis single camera, Carbon Fabric Reinforced Plastic based electro optic structure, lightweight, large size mirrors, JPEG like data compression, advanced solid state recorder, high-torque reaction wheels and high performance star sensors are being employed in Cartosat-2.


Cartosat-2 suffered from some problems after launch. Hence, An improved ..

Cartosat 2A was launched in 2008. 

Cartosat 2B followed in 2010.

Cartosat 2C was launched into a lower 505 km orbit for better ground reslution.

Cartosat 2D will follow in March 2017 and Cartosat 2E is planned for late 2017.



Type / Application:

Earth Observing







IRS-2 Bus




2 deployable solar arrays, batteries


5 years


650 kg (#2); 690 kg (#2A); 694 kg (#2B), 727 kg (#2C)


630 km × 630 km, 97.9° (#2); 505 km × 505 km, 97.9° (#2)

Offering a resolution of about 60 cm, Cartosat-2C is touted to be the best Indian eye yet in the sky. It will cater to the countrys military requirements. Its camera, among other functions, can spot objects that are 60 cm wide or long – roughly an arms length, from its orbit of around 600 km.



The army also relies on Cartosat satellites to provide it with ‘Area Of Interest’ images of places that require constant monitoring. The images are provided in a shape-file, comprising data related to an area’s physical features.





Along with thanks and compliments to the sources for the shared data

Creative Commons Copyright © Shanepedia 2012


3 responses »

  1. N Modi says:

    It’s one of the best thing done by ISRO.


  2. Jagdambika P says:

    Apart from Army’s prospective .. It’s also the best thing for lethargic Indian Intelligence Department.. If they really want to do anything seriously.


  3. […] via The Key To India’s Surgical Strike: ISRO’s Cartosat 2C Satellite — SHANEPEDiA […]


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