India has successfully launched a satellite that will track monsoons from outer space, according to various reports.
The one-ton Megha-Tropiques satellite, which will obtain information on water vapor in the atmosphere and study monsoon patterns on the surface, was fired into orbit from the Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota, in southern India, about 60 miles north of Chennai.
The satellite is a joint venture with France. Indian officials constructed the satellite platform and supplied the launch rocket, while France provided its high-tech scientific instruments.
According to Indian media, the satellite cost five billion rupees ($100 million) to manufacture.
BBC reported that the Megha-Tropiques will be on a low-inclination orbit around the equator (between 23 degrees North and South), and will pass over India about 12 times a day.
India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO), which is seeking to achieve closer ties with its foreign peers, will share data from the satellite with meteorological organizations in Europe and the U.S.
Raghu Murtugudde, a climate scientist at the University of Maryland in the U.S., told The Hindu newspaper in India: that the Megha-Tropiques will be “an incredible opportunity to advance process and predictive understanding of the monsoons. Doing the water content, water vapor profiles and radiation is like having the complete recipe for a megha-dish! It will be delicious.”
Three other rocket satellites were also sent up – comprising the SRMSat from SRM University-Chennai; JUGNU from Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur; and the Vesselsat-1 from Luxembourg.