To predict cyclone, ISRO to build advanced satellite

The Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) -- an arm of ISRO --- is developing a new, miniature weather-forecasting satellite --- ScatSat --- at the cost of an estimated Rs 300 crore.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Updated: May 27, 2015 5:11:18 am

isro, A team of 300 scientists at SAC are currently working on this satellite.

In order to predict the genesis of cyclones in the oceans, the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) — an arm of ISRO — is developing a new, miniature weather-forecasting satellite — ScatSat — at the cost of an estimated Rs 300 crore.

Once launched at the end of this year, this satellite is expected to take over some of the functions of OCEANSAT-2, a satellite that had accurately predicted the landfall of cyclone Phailin on the Orissa coast in October 2013. This prediction had helped in timely evacuation and minimise human casualties.

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“The scatterometer on OCEANSAT-2 that had provided accurate data about the landfall of Phailin cyclone has become dysfunctional since February 2014. We are now rapidly building a new scatterometer that will be able to predict cyclogenesis or the formation and strengthening of possible cyclones. This can be done by keeping a watch on the formation of the vortex of air over oceans,” said Tapan Misra, director, SAC.

The scatterometer on OCEANSAT-2 was launched in 2009 and became dysfunctional in about four-and-a-half years. Currently, India is depending on the NASA’s ISS-RapidScat to monitor ocean winds and cyclones.

“This ScatSat satellite will measure the wind speed and it’s direction over the ocean. It can predict the formation of cyclones, about 4-5 days in advance. This time period is very crucial in saving lives,” he said about the satellite that will carry a payload of about 110 kilograms.

A team of 300 scientists at SAC are currently working on this satellite which is expected to be ready to be shipped for launch within a couple of months. “This satellite will cost about Rs 250-300 crore and will have a life of about five years,” he added.

The data generated by this mini-satellite will be used by NASA, EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

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