An new Indo-French satellite

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France and India have joined hands for the second time to successfully launch their satellite SARAL into orbit from the Sriharikota spaceport.


The twenty-third mission of the PSLV or Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle of ISRO resulted in launching successfully SARAL, the Indo-French satellite and six others into their orbits in space on 25th February 2013 from the Sriharikota spaceport. This joint venture of the Indian Space Research Organisation and the French space agency Centre National d’EtudesSpatiales has a common interest of studying the ocean from space. The satellite has three payloads. The two primary devices ‘satellite with ARgos and ALtika’ are provided by CNES while the third payload, a solid state C Band Transponder (SCBT) is from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre or VSSC, based in Trivandrum.

SARAL has practical applications and is very important as far as the research community is concerned.The scientific objectives of this mission are operational oceanography, climate research and the study of animal migration among others. ARgos will collect environmental data like ocean temperature profiles, currents and salinity whereasdata products from ALtika payload shall be provided to the oceanographic research community to study the continental waters, inland ice sheet monitoring and rainfall and clouds climatology.The SARAL satellite has the purpose of contributing immensely to research on environment, development of climate and protection of bio-diversity.It helps scientists in understanding the environment and to establish environmental regulations for industries to comply, thereby contributing to ecological welfare.

The other satellites which went into orbit with SARAL were SAPPHIRE and NEOSSAT from Canada, UniBRITE and BRITE from Austria, AAUSAT3 from Aalburg University Denmark and STRaND from the UK.

SARAL has a weight of 409 kilograms and its mission life is five years. This is the second collaboration of CNES and ISRO after the successful launch of Megha-Tropiques, a 1000 kilogram satellite in space in  October 2011.

Source: The Hindu, 26 February 2013 – Documentation and Information Services-LV Projects, VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram

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