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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meghatropiques .. French Satellite for study of Tropical rains and seas

Megha-Tropiques (Megha =cloud in Sanskrit, and Tropiques =tropics in French ) is a joint Indo-French mission meant for investigating the contribution of the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere to climate dynamics.

Tropics is the region between about 23deg N and 23 deg S around equator.

This is the region where the Sun rays fall perpendicularly atleast once in a year.
Region beyond these limits upto Poles are not so lucky.
Hence Earth's atmosphere is heavily dependent on the atmospheric changes here.
Therefore the Meghatropiques satellite mission was planned for monitoring the atmosphere in this area repeatedly.

Meghatropiques Orbit which has an inclination of 20° at 866-km height results in following coverage:

A  repetitivity of more than  more than
5 per day between 13°N and 13°S  and
3.5 visibilities per day  between 22°S and 22°N at each point .

India's ISRO and its Frech counterpart CNES ( Centre National d'Etudes Spaciales ) have jointly worked on this mission for last several years.

ISRO has built the satellite and it would control the satellite in orbit and also receive, process and distribute the scientific data from the satellite, besides of course launching the satellite using PSLV rocket.

The following scientific payloads are developed by CNES :

- A microwave imager (MADRAS) aimed mainly to study precipitation and cloud properties, including ice at the top of clouds. (SSM/I type, with an additional channel at 157 GHz).

- A microwave sounding instrument for the atmospheric water vapor (SAPHIR - 6 channels in the 183 GHz band).

- A radiometer devoted to the measurement of outgoing radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere (ScaRaB type).

More details can be seen here

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