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
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
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
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
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.