Successful launch of PSLV-C18 / MEGHA-TROPIQUES Mission

Successful launch of PSLV-C18 / MEG

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C18) successfully launched the Indo-French MEGHA-TROPIQUES Satellite on October 12, 2011. This has been the nineteenth successive successful flight of PSLV.

Three co-passenger Satellites (a) JUGNU from IIT, Kanpur (b) SRMSat from SRM University, Chennai and (c) VesselSat-1 from Luxembourg were also launched by PSLV-C18. The user institutions also have confirmed establishing contact with the satellites.

MEGHA-TROPIQUES Satellite, a joint endeavour of ISRO and the French National Space Agency (CNES), is intended to study the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropical region covering 20 deg on either side of the Equator.

There are four Science instruments in the MEGHA-TROPIQUES Satellite:

A Scanning Microwave Imager MADRAS (developed jointly by ISRO and CNES), operating at five frequencies (18, 23, 37, 89 and 157 Giga Hertz) to measure precipitation and cloud properties
A Scanner ScaRaB (developed by CNES), for measuring Earth Radiation Budget
A Sounder SAPHIR (developed by CNES) for Atmospheric Profiling of Humidity in the inter-tropical Region
GPS Radio Occultation Sensor ROSA (procured by ISRO from Italy)

Soon after separation of the MEGHA-TROPIQUES satellite from PSLV, ISRO's Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore took its command and control.

It has been confirmed that the Satellite has been placed very precisely into its intended circular orbit, as given below:

Orbital Parameter at Satellite injection Point                             Target                       Achieved
Perigee (km)                                                                                 865.30 + 20               864.39
Apogee (km)                                                                                 867.15 + 20                865.16
Orbital Inclination (degree)                                                         20.06 + 0.20              19.99

MEGHA-TROPIQUES Satellite has been put in its final orbital configuration in 3-axis stabilised mode with respect to Sun and Earth. The Satellite is in good health. The four Science instruments were energised in the following manner:

ROSA payload was switched on October 12, 2011
SAPHIR payload was switched on the forenoon of October 13, 2011
MADRAS payload was switched on the afternoon of October 13, 2011
ScaRaB payload was activated on October 13, 2011; however for degassing, it is required to wait for 21 days before the collection of data

Data from these instruments is expected to enhance scientific knowledge in the field of climate research through study of water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropical region. Other than the scientific community of India and France, there are already 21 scientific teams from Australia, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea, Niger, Sweden, UK and USA awaiting data from MEGHA-TROPIQUES.

It is pertinent to note that MEGHA-TROPIQUES is only the second mission of this kind globally, next to the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) launched in 1997 by USA and Japan. USA and Japan are presently coordinating for establishing a Global Precipitation Measurement Mission with 8-Satellite Constellation.

MEGHA-TROPIQUES Satellite could be a joint contribution from India and France to the global scientific community engaged in research on climate and weather systems that affect the daily life of humankind world over and particularly in the tropical region.