CARTOSAT-1 carries two panchromatic cameras that take black-and-white stereoscopic pictures in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The satellite images have a spatial resolution of 2.5 meter and cover a swath of 30 km. The cameras are mounted on the satellite in such a way that near simultaneous imaging of the same area from two different angles is possible. This facilitates the generation of accurate three-dimensional maps. The cameras maneuver across the direction of the satellite's movement to facilitate the imaging of an area more frequently. The images taken by CARTOSAT-1 cameras are compressed, encrypted, formatted and transmitted to the ground stations.
CARTOSAT-1 also carries a Solid State Recorder with a capacity of 120 Giga Bits to store the images taken by its cameras. The stored images can be transmitted when the satellite comes within the visibility zone of a ground station.
After its separation from the fourth stage of PSLV, CARTOSAT-1 is made to accurately point towards the earth through a series of complex maneuvers. This is followed by a thorough checkout of the satellite, switching on the cameras and fine tuning of the orbit.