India-France to launch Constellation of Maritime Surveillance Satellites
India and France are to launch a constellation of maritime surveillance satellites to monitor illegal spillage of oil in the Indian Ocean Region.
In August 2020, the ISRO and the French Space Agency CNES agreed to develop and build a constellation of satellites. CNES is Centre National d’etudes spatiales, the National Centre for Space Studies. The satellites will carry optical-remote sensing instruments, telecommunication and radar instruments. This system is the first space-based system in the world that is capable of tracking ships continuously.
The monitoring centre is to be based in India. The satellites are to be operated jointly by both France and India. The system will also cover the entire world at the benefit of French Economic Interests.
The Indian Ocean Region has several Sea Lanes of Communication that are used by many ships every day. The main purpose of the surveillance satellites is to trace illegal oil spillage by ships. The CNES-ISRO are already operating a number of climate-monitoring satellites together. TRISHNA, a thermal infrared observer will also be a part of the constellation. Both TRISHNA and Oceansat-3 Argos Mission will augment the maritime surveillance constellation.
India and France are also working together on Gaganyaan. It is the first manned space mission of India. Also, France is also a part of ISRO’s Venus Mission, SHUKRAYAAN.
TRISHNA is Tropiques and Saral-Altika. It is a joint mission of India and France in monitoring climate changes. The mission will monitor water cycle at the Earth Surface. This is because, the water cycle interacts with the climate change processes and a number of practical applications such as soil, agriculture, water quality assessment, water resource management and irrigation. The mission will also help measure surface temperatures at local scale.
India and France have together put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites earlier. In 2011, Megha-Tropiques and SARAL-Altika in 2013 were launched for this purpose.