The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French National Space Centre (CNES) are to jointly develop a satellite called Megha-Tropiques that will gather atmospheric data over the tropical region of the Earth.
Megha-Tropiques (Megha meaning cloud in Sanskrit and Tropiques meaning tropics in French) will will carry three scientific instruments.
The first is a Multi-frequency Microwave Scanning Radiometer (MADRAS) that will be developed jointly by ISRO and CNES for providing information on rain above the oceans, water vapour content in the atmosphere, water in clouds and rain over land and sea.
The second, a Multi-channel Microwave Instrument (SAPHIR), will be developed by CNES to provide vertical humidity profile in the atmosphere.
Lastly, a Multi-channel Instrument (SCARAB), also to be developed by CNES, will provide data on the earth’s radiation budget.
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 to occur in the 2008-2009 timeframe.