Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Indian PSLV Rocket Launches French Indian Earth Observation Satellite

An Indian PSLV rocket successfully placed the Franco-Indian Megha-Tropiques Earth observation satellite into low Earth orbit Oct. 12 along with three microsatellites, the Indian and French space agencies said.

Megha-Tropiques, which will spend about three months in testing before being declared operational, is designed to operate for at least three years studying tropical monsoons using a microwave imager from an orbit of about 865 kilometers inclined at 20 percent relative to the equator.

In addition to giving the satellite a frequent revisit over the monsoon regions — three to six times per day between 25 degrees North and 25 degrees South latitude — the unusual orbit will mean that Megha-Tropiques never overflies the French mainland.

The French space agency, CNES, financed about 40 percent of the mission. Megha-Tropiques managers at CNES said they are unaware of any precedent for a bilateral space cooperation in which the satellite being developed does not fly over one of the partners’ capital.

CNES spent 45 million euros ($61 million) on Megha-Tropiques, a figure that about doubles when CNES personnel salary costs are included in the budget.

The satellite was first designed by CNES and the Indian Space Research Organisation, (ISRO), in the late 1990s.

Development was suspended in 2002 following a financial shortfall at CNES. The mission was reorganized in 2003 with greater ISRO responsibility, including provision of the IRS satellite platform.

A final agreement between the two agencies was concluded in November 2004.

Read more on this story Indian PSLV Rocket Lofts French Indian Earth Observation Satellite

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