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India, France to develop satellite for study

New Delhi, Jan 23, 2016, DHNS: 1:26 IST
Hollande will land in Chandigarh on Sunday to commence his second visit to India. Reuters file photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande are expected to announce on Monday a new project for joint development of a satellite to help study climate change and explore ways to manage and mitigate its impact.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Centre National d’ Etudes Spatiales (CNES) may ink a deal for jointly developing the satellite after Modi’s meeting with Hollande on Monday.

“There will be a new project of space programme in relation to observation and prevention of climate change,” France’s Ambassador to India, Francois Richier, told journalists in New Delhi.

He said the French president’s visit would also see several MoUs being inked by higher education institutions of the two countries.

Hollande will land in Chandigarh on Sunday to commence his second visit to India. He will meet Modi on Monday and will be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony on Tuesday. Richier said that threat posed by climate change would be high on the agenda of the meeting between the prime minister and French president.

They are expected to discuss ways to step up bilateral cooperation on joint research and development and technology innovation as well as diffusion of clean energy and efficiency solutions that will help in transitioning towards a climate resilient and low carbon economy.

Both Paris and New Delhi are of the view that the Isro-CNES cooperation should focus more on use of space technology to respond to climate change.

The CNES is keen to step up its cooperation with Isro as India was one of the first nations to deploy high-quality satellite capabilities in response to the need to manage its water resources and address food security issues posed by the threat of climate change as well as the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events, officials said in New Delhi.

Two satellites

India-France cooperation has already resulted in two satellites, which were jointly developed by Isro and CNES and are now delivering precious operational data for climate study. While Megha-Tropiques, launched in 2011, is helping scientists to map cloud cover in three dimensions, Saral-AltiKa, launched in 2013, measures the surface height of oceans, lakes and rivers with millimetre accuracy, heralding new prospects for management of water resources.

On the occasion of Modi’s visit to Paris in April 2015, Isro and CNES signed an agreement, which proposed cooperation in the areas of satellite remote sensing, satellite communications and satellite meteorology; space sciences and planetary exploration; data collection and location; operations of satellite ground stations and spacecraft mission management; space research and applications.

It covered the potential cooperation activities, such as joint earth observation mission, hosted payload opportunities and exploration of Mars.

India-France cooperation in space technology started with the setting up of sounding rocket launching facilities at Thumba in early 1960s and progressed through the development of liquid engines in the 1970s.

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