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India's new satellite to monitor oceans

25 September 2009

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Oceansat-2, the country's second ocean studies satellite was launched this week to keep watch over the seas and study changes in the earth's atmosphere. With two colour censors and a scatterometer, the satellite will also help identify key fishing zones.

Bangalore: India on Wednesday launched the Oceansat-2 remote sensing satellite, expected to improve prediction of cyclones and rainfall in the region.

Image credits: Livemint/ The launch of Oceansat-2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

The satellite, with a projected lifespan of five years, carries three instruments to study ocean surface winds for their intensity and likely path as well as for identifying potential fishing zones in Indian waters. One of the instruments is from the Italian Space Agency.

“If we put the data (from the satellite) of the wind over the ocean in our climate models, we should be able to provide day-to-day forecast of rainfall. The models will be more accurate,” said J. Srinivasan, professor at the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

"Oceansat-2 is part of India’s plan to build a group of earth observation satellites focusing on monitoring ocean and atmospheric changes"

“By how much, it is difficult to say. That depends on the satellite’s path over the region.”

Oceansat-2 is part of India’s plan to build a group of earth observation satellites focusing on monitoring ocean and atmospheric changes, adding to its fleet of land-focused satellites.

It will be followed in the next two years by SARAL and Megha Tropiques, satellites being built jointly by India and France to track weather changes in the ocean and in the tropics.

India has 12 remote sensing satellites, including Cartosat-2-A and Radar Imaging Satellite-2 that can see through the clouds and snap images round the clock.

The new satellite’s predecessor, Oceansat-1, was launched in 1999 and continues to send data five years after its projected lifespan.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) used a home-grown polar satellite launch rocket to put in space the 958kg cuboid-shaped Oceansat-2 and six smaller satellites—four from Germany and one each from Turkey and Switzerland—from its Sriharikota launch pad in Andhra Pradesh.

The space agency did not disclose the commercial terms for the smaller satellite launches. These small satellites, weighing less than 10kg and built for research by academic institutions, are usually carried as co-passengers with a large satellite.

This is the first satellite launch by the space agency after it aborted an unmanned moon probe, Chandrayaan-1, in July, 13 months short of its expected lifespan.

“This is a fantastic achievement. Once again, we have proved that we can do the job precisely,” Isro chairman G. Madhavan Nair was quoted by PTI from Sriharikota after the launch.

A new sophisticated device

"Oceansat-1 had was providing data only on the ocean colour while rest of the features were not there.

"If the ocean is green that means the more fishes will be there"

The recently launched satellite is equipped with two censors ocean colour monitor (OCM) and KU-Band pencil beam scatterometer. With the ocean colour we can make out primary production of the ocean," Ramaswamy said.

"If the ocean is green that means the more fishes will be there. These zones are high productivity fishing zones, which are recorded and the information is passed on to the fishermen," Ramaswamy said.

He stated that the Oceansat-2 is bit more sophisticated with the equipments which will transmit the data which can be utilized during the various projects undertaken by NIO sponsored by Ahmadabad-based space application centre (SAT).

The researchers expect a major help in the Euphoric zone studies and bio-geo chemical cycles.

Giving an edge over the Oceansat-1 satellite, the recently injected satellite also will aid the scientists in monitoring the dust storms which usually erupt from the west of Rajasthan and countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

Source : Livemint

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