ISRO to launch weather satellite tomorrow

To help understand the life cycle of convective systems and to their role in the associated energy

Addressing a press confere­nce here on Saturday, Isro chairman K Radhakrishan said the climate satellite would be moved to Sriharikota from Bangalore on September 14.
The satellite will be launched on the Polar Sa­tellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C 18.

Megha Tropiques is the outcome of the collaboration between Isro and French National Space Centre (CNES) to develop a satellite devoted to atmospheric research.
Megha-Tropiques is aimed at understanding the life cycle of convective systems and to their role in the associated energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in the tropical regions.

The satellite will carry an Imaging Radiometer Microwave Analysis and Detect­i­on of Rain and Atmospheric Structures (MADRAS), a six channel Humidity Sounder (SAPHIR), a four channel Sc­a­n­ner for Radiation Budget Measurement (SCARAB) and GPS Radio Occultation System (GPS-ROS) purchased from Italy.

The special feature of the satellite will be its potential of studying water vapour content over the equatorial region.

 At present, there are hardly other satellites doing this category of work.

“This will one of the first steps towards global precipitation measurement. We will have 21 international principal investigators and 22 investigators within the country and they will be using the data for scientific investigation as well as weather forecast,” said Dr R R Navalgund, director, Isro’s Space Applications Centre at Ahmedabad.

Though the data will be shared amongst CNES and Is­ro for the first nine months  for validation and calibrations, the data will be made available to international community after that.

The Megha Tropiques had run into considerable delay as the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2003-04 and the satellite was slated for a launch in 2005. Sources at Isro said delay was primarily due to the fact that the French had a change of heart about the project early on.

“They were rethinking the project and almost scrapped it due to funding constraints,” the source added. Finally in 2008, on the intervention of the then CNES director, a decision was taken to restart the project.

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