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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 24 April 2024 11.14 AM IST

ISRO successfully returns expired Cartosat-2 satellite to Earth

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a remarkable feat by safely returning the expired Cartosat-2 satellite from space to Earth. The satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere precisely at 3.48 pm on Wednesday, descending over the islands and uninhabited southern region of the Indian Ocean, where it disintegrated due to atmospheric friction. Weighing 680 kg, the satellite's controlled re-entry and destruction mark a rare event in space history.

Cartosat-2, a second-generation satellite launched on January 10, 2007, boasted high-resolution imaging capabilities, with the ability to observe ground objects with up to one-meter accuracy, primarily serving military purposes. Having expired in 2019, ISRO undertook the complex task of safely deorbiting the satellite. Using the remaining fuel in 2020, it was first lowered from an altitude of 635 km to 380 km, then gradually descended to 130 km above Earth. From there, it was carefully guided to a safe re-entry trajectory over the Indian Ocean.

ISRO's achievement garnered praise from NASA and global space safety and sustainability organizations. The mission's success averts potential disasters in the future. The satellite's removal from space eliminates the risk of collisions with other satellites over the next three decades mitigating the threat of catastrophic falls to Earth.

The necessity for such actions is underscored by previous incidents including China's Long March 5B crash in November 2022 and the dispersion of China's 25-tonne satellite parts over the Indian Ocean near the Maldives in May 2021, along with America's Skylab which posed similar risks.

With approximately 500,000 man-made satellites and rocket debris orbiting the Earth, totaling 9,000 tons, many countries lack the technological expertise to safely dispose of satellites after their operational lifespan. ISRO's Safe and Sustainable Space Operations team, headquartered in Bangalore, demonstrated exceptional capability in executing this critical mission.

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TAGS: ISRO, CARTOSAT, RETURN, EARTH, SATELLITE
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