A met satellite with Japan on the anvil
ISRO and its Japanese counterpart JAXA are exploring what could be their first joint mission: a spacecraft to study ocean and land weather processes which will sharpen their respective weather forecasting systems.
Although it is not a full proposal yet, the intended tie-up last came up when representatives of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency visited ISRO’s Ahmedabad centre a few months back.
Talks going on
“Discussions are going on with JAXA. We are looking at a spacecraft with a dual frequency scatterometer which will be particularly useful for ocean observation and to an extent, for land studies,” ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar confirmed to The Hindu.
According to a tentative plan ISRO will provide the payload or study instrument and JAXA the spacecraft. The toss-up is apparently over the launch. ISRO has its proven PSLV launch vehicle that regularly puts Earth observation satellites of around 1,000-1,600 kg to near space.
“There is nothing concrete as yet as to who will do what. We are discussing different [options], including who will launch the spacecraft and which instruments will go on it,” Mr. Kiran Kumar said. “Both agencies have it on high priority, it will be continuously touched upon although we don’t have a specific schedule for talks.”
Interestingly, at one stage, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab also wanted to be in the Indo-Japanese activity.
The spacecraft will be typically like an IRS (Indian Remote-sensing Satellite) that is launched for observing Earth from space.
JAXA and other agencies are apparently inspired by the two climate study spacecraft sent up by ISRO and French agency CNES: a tropical atmospheric study mission called Megha-Tropiques in October 2011 and marine monitor SARAL in February 2013.
Earlier, the two Indian Oceansat spacecraft used a scatterometer to get global data on ocean wind dynamics – which is as an important index of weather forecasting. This also brought attention to Indian capabilities.
In an era of frugal budgets, space agencies today prefer to partner proven agencies to reduce time and cost while doing such socially useful missions, said a veteran space scientist who did not wish to be named.
NASA has also tied up with ISRO for NISAR, slated for around 2020 and described as a mission that will take “an unprecedented look at Earth and its eco-disturbances through advanced radar imaging”. Chandrayaan-1 of 2008 carried two US payloads and shares the credit for discovering water on Moon.
Quelle: The Hindu