Chennai: The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Megha-Tropiques mission, which will be launched aboard the PSLV-C18 rocket began on Monday. This followed launch clearance by the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) which met on Sunday at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC)-SHAR, Sriharikota.
The Megha-Tropiques is a weather satellite that is co-developed by the Indian and French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales). The satellite will study tropical weather patterns and contribute to the study of cyclones, monsoons, and other climate and weather related phenomenon.
According to the CNES website, the main objectives of the Megha-Tropiques mission are to provide simultaneous measurements of several elements of the atmospheric water cycle such as water vapour, clouds, condensed water in clouds, precipitation and evaporation; measure the corresponding radiative budget at the top of the atmosphere; and ensure high temporal sampling in order to characterise the life cycle of the convective system and to obtain significant statistics.
The 50-hour countdown commenced at 09:00 hours in the morning and the propellant-filling operations of the liquid propellant second stage (PS2) and fourth stage (PS4) of the launch vehicle are being carried out now.
Mandatory checks on the launch vehicle and spacecraft including charging of batteries and pressurisation of propellant tanks will be performed as part of the countdown process. Readiness of various ground systems such as tracking radar systems and communication networks will also be checked.
ISRO has built Megha-Tropiques, an advanced tropical climate monitoring satellite at a cost of Rs80 crore.