ISRO and French Space Agency, CNES, Sign MOU on Megha-Tropiques Satellite Mission on November 12, 2004.
From ISRO Site
ISRO and the French National Space Centre (CNES) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today (November 12, 2004) to proceed with the development and implementation of the joint atmospheric satellite mission, Megha-Tropiques. Mr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO and Mr Yannick d’Escatha, President, CNES, signed the MOU at Antariksh Bhavan, Bangalore, the Headquarters of ISRO. This MOU outlines the arrangements for the development of the satellite, its launch, its operations in orbit and utilisation of the scientific data obtained from the satellite.
Megha-Tropiques (Megha meaning cloud in Sanskrit and Tropiques meaning tropics in French) is meant for investigating the contribution of the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere to climate dynamics. The satellite will carry three scientific instruments:
- a Multi-frequency Microwave Scanning Radiometer (MADRAS) to be developed jointly by ISRO and CNES for providing information on rain above the oceans, integrated water vapour content in the atmosphere, liquid water in clouds, convective rain over land and sea
- a Multi-channel Microwave Instrument (SAPHIR) to be developed by CNES for providing vertical humidity profile in the atmosphere, and
- a Multi-channel Instrument (SCARAB), also to be developed by CNES, for providing data on the earth’s radiation budget.
Mr. G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO and Mr. Yannick d’Escatha, President, CNES signing the Memorandum of Understanding to proceed with the development and implementation of Megha-Tropiques
ISRO will build the Megha-Tropiques spacecraft, which will be similar to the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites. ISRO will also launch the satellite using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The satellite will be placed in 867 km high orbit at an inclination of 20 degrees with respect to the equatorial plane. In this orbit, the satellite will be able to collect scientific data covering the tropical regions. ISRO will control the satellite in orbit and also receive, process and distribute the scientific data from the satellite.
The launch is planned by 2008-2009.
On signing the MOU, Mr Madhavan Nair said: "Megha-Tropiques is an important mission which will provide vital atmospheric data over the tropical region that would help in monsoon variability studies. I am very happy about the progress made so far in this programme". Mr Yannick d’Escatha said "This MOU demonstrates the importance CNES attaches to the stewardship of our planet and once again confirms the utility of space assets in improving our understanding of its underlying mechanisms. Megha-Tropiques is a fine and promising mission made possible by our successful long-term partnership with ISRO."
Megha-Tropiques, with its unique combination of scientific payloads and its special orbit, is expected to provide valuable data for climate research. Besides Indian and French scientists, international teams of scientists working on global climate related studies have evinced keen interest in the Megha-Tropiques mission.
ISRO and CNES had, in November 1999, signed a Statement of Intent for undertaking the Megha-Tropiques mission, and conducted joint feasibility studies and arrived at a baseline configuration of the satellite and the instruments to be flown, the orbit and the possible launchers. In May 2001, the two agencies signed the first MOU to jointly carry out the detailed design of the Megha-Tropiques mission. The MOU signed today enables the development and implementation of the mission.
The MOU on Megha-Tropiques is a major milestone in the long-standing relationship between Indian and French space agencies.