July 2008: Agreement between CNES and ISRO on the data policy for Megha-Tropiques

The Joint Working Group of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French Space Agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) met at Goa during July 5-6, 2008 to review the progress of on-going collaborative programmes under the chairmanship of Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO and Dr Yannick d`Escatha, President, CNES. During the meeting, an Agreement between ISRO and CNES on the Data Policy for distribution of data received from Megha Tropiques was signed.

This policy enables the global scientific community to have free access to Megha Tropiques data after calibration and evaluation of the payloads by scientists from both the agencies for weather and climate change studies. This data is expected to enhance a better understanding of the tropical weather phenomena including the monsoons.

The meeting also reviewed the status of SARAL, a small satellite mission with payloads from CNES for the study of ocean parameters towards enhancing the understanding of the ocean state conditions which are otherwise not covered by the in-situ measurements. The satellite carries a Ka band altimeter and a payload for reception of ARGO floats deployed all over the world oceans. The altimeter data will provide support in coastal environment studies, estuarine, bathymetry and preparedness towards Tsunami disaster. The periodic data collection over the oceans permits climate assimilations for improved weather forecast.

While reviewing the future collaborative projects, the teams emphasised the need for space-based observations for climate, environment and disaster management. Scientists from ISRO and CNES exchanged ideas for cooperation in conceiving space based systems and methodologies, which lead to a better understanding of tropical weather and climate. The cooperation between the two agencies will also enhance interaction between scientists outside space agencies in India and France and among the global scientific community. It was re-emphasised that technical and scientific strengths of ISRO and CNES would lead to evolving and establishing innovative operational space systems in addressing issues related to the tropical weather and climate. Both the agencies concluded that these efforts should facilitate achieving leadership position in understanding the tropical climate.

The meeting further re-established the relevance of the successful Indo-French cooperation in space activities.