India Plans New Satellites as Part of Climate Institute

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India intends to establish a new institute in Bangalore that will use satellitesand other Earth observation systems to study the impact of climate change on the environment and economy, Indian government officials announced October 18.

The planned “national institute for research on climate and environment” would be a joint initiative of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and India’s Ministry for Environment and Forests.

ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair told reporters the new institute would receive 400 million rupees ($8.7 million) in initial funding and would open its doors by March 2010. Formal government approval is expected soon, he said.

Nair said two dedicated polar-orbiting satellites will be launched between 2010 and 2011 as part of the institute’s activities. The first will be a 50-kilogram satellite to conduct atmospheric research and the second a remote sensing satellite built to monitor the emission of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. The satellites also will be used to monitor the health of Himalayan glaciers.