Proposals Sought for Indo-French Missions

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its French counterpart CNES have issued a joint call for proposals for scientific utilization of data from two Indo-French satellite missions to be launched from India this year. No funding is involved, but selected principal investigators will be provided with relevant data sets at no cost.

Megha-Tropiques, an ISRO-CNES weather satellite due to launch into a highly inclined orbit during the second half of 2010 on board an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, is aimed at improving scientific understanding of the role the tropics play in global weather patterns. The satellite will carry a microwave imaging instrument aimed at measurements of precipitation, cloud microphysics, ocean surface winds, total water vapor and liquid water content of the atmosphere; a millimeter wave sounder for vertical profile of humidity; and a radiometer that measures the outgoing long-wave and short-wave radiation from the top of the atmosphere and thereby the heat budget.

Saral, the other collaborative satellite mission, is expected to launch in the third quarter of 2010 into a sun synchronous orbit where it will measure ocean-wave heights and wind speeds to advance understanding of climate variability and improve forecasting capabilities. It is the first satellite to carry an oceanographic altimeter operating at a frequency of 35.75 gigahertz in the Ka-band, and the high vertical and spatial resolution offered by the instrument will be useful for coastal applications, RakeshGairola, associate project director at ISRO, told Space News Jan. 19.

The call for proposals is open to individuals or a group of scientists, academicians and research scholars belonging to recognized institutions, universities, government and nongovernment organizations, according to ISRO. The proposals must be supported by the investigators’ institution, with appropriate assurance for providing necessary facilities for carrying out the projects. Deadline for submission of proposals for Megha-Tropiques is March 3. Saral utilization proposals are due Feb. 15.