Come March 18 and a group of scientists representing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its French counterpart National Space Agency of France (CNES) will meet to finalise the specifications for a joint satellite programme between India and France.
"The satellite is for oceanographic, climate change and other studies. The scientists from the two space agencies will analyse the data jointly," an official representing the French space agency in India said. The two space agencies aim to exchange views ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Indo-French space co-operation which is being celebrated this year. The complete spectrum of instruments and experiments that will go onto the satellite will be decided by the two agencies jointly. This satellite, according to the official, will be a continuation of the Megha-Tropiques satellite programme which is an Indo-French joint satellite mission for the study of the tropical atmosphere and climate related to aspects such as monsoons, cyclones, among others was successfully launched in October 2011 by India's Polar Satellite launch vehicle.
The data products are made available to the principle investigators of international announcement of opportunity for validation activities, according to ISRO. As the first of Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) constellation of eight satellites, Megha-Tropiques data would contribute to the global scientific community to study and understand the dynamics of climate system, ISRO added. Another joint mission with France, the SARAL or Satellite for Altika and Argos is for studying ocean from space using altimetry was launched on February 25, 2013.
The CNES provided a radar altimeter instrument called Altika and an onboard relay instrument for the international Argos data collection system. ISRO, meanwhile, provided the satellite platform, launch and operations for the joint mission.
The future satellite programme will be a continuation of the Megha-Tropiques programme. The Megha-Tropiques is still functional and continues to relay data, said the French official. The planned satellite will have a greater geographical coverage, the official added.