ISRO Safely Crashes Cartosat-2 Over Indian Ocean On Basant Panchami

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Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation on Friday said that it had safely crashed the Cartosat-2 probe from space. The spacecraft burned up upon re-entry into the upper atmosphere.

The spacecraft, which was launched into space on January 10, 2007, ended its mission in 2019. Since then, ISRO has been gradually lowering its orbit to ensure a safe re-entry.

“Cartosat-2, Isro’s high-resolution imaging satellite, bid adieu with a descent into Earth’s atmosphere on February 14 on the occasion of ‘Basant Panchami’, as predicted. ISRO had lowered its orbit from 635 km to 380 km by early 2020,” the space agency said in an update.

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Initially, Cartosat-2 was expected to take about 30 years to naturally de-orbit. However, ISRO opted to lower its perigee using leftover fuel to comply with international guidelines on space debris mitigation. This involved reducing collision risks and ensuring safe end-of-life disposal, following recommendations from organizations like the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPOUS) and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC).

ISRO’s System for Safe and Sustainable Space Operations (IS4OM) team at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) predicted Cartosat-2’s atmospheric re-entry for February 14, 2024. Electrical passivation was completed on February 14th, and tracking continued until re-entry. The final telemetry frames confirmed successful passivation, with the satellite reaching about 130 km altitude. The final prediction placed Cartosat-2’s re-entry over the Indian Ocean.

This provided an opportunity to assess indigenous tracking capabilities, with the Multi-object tracking radar at Shriharikota utilized for tracking. The final prediction placed Cartosat-2’s re-entry over the Indian Ocean at 10:18 UTC / 3:48 pm IST on February 14, 2024. Analysis indicated that all major spacecraft components would demise during atmospheric re-entry.

Cartosat-2’s successful de-orbiting at its end-of-life represents a significant step for ISRO in ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

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