Saturday 10 March in New Delhi, in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall signed an agreement to jointly develop a constellation of microsatellites. The agreement encompasses pre-formulation studies for a space system to be developed and operated jointly by the two nations. The microsatellites in the constellation will carry telecommunications and remote-sensing instruments.
Furthering India and France’s partnership in space, Indian Prime Minister and French President adopted a general policy statement affirming the strategic import of space cooperation and setting new goals for the programme, the two nations have engaged together. The statement records that several Indo-French satellites are already contributing to climate-monitoring efforts from space. This fleet of satellites will be joined later this year by the Oceansat3-Argos mission and in the future by a new joint infrared imaging satellite currently in the study phase. In particular, the statement extends the scope of the space partnership, sets out new prospects for working together in the field of launchers and announces France’s participation in future Indian planetary exploration missions. India and France’s longstanding partnership in space, since the signature of a first cooperation agreement in 1964, has yielded many successes and space is one of the pillars of the strategic dialogue that the two governments have established.
Oceansat3-Argos mission will be a key to assuring operational continuity of the Argos system. This will be an augmentation to the existing Indo-French fleet of climate-monitoring satellites, now ongoing for more than 15 years, that is a remarkable model of international cooperation in space.
ISRO and CNES also announced the name of the next Indo-French satellite currently in the study phase, as ‘Trishna’, which is Hindi word for ‘thirst’ or ‘desire’ . This latest-generation infrared satellite will provide the capability to precisely map evapotranspiration, and characterize the global water cycle, as key parameters for climate studies. It will thus extend the spectrum of measurements already being acquired by the Indo-French Megha-Tropiques and Saral-AltiKa satellites, to land surfaces. Together with the Oceansat3-Argos mission, these satellites will form a unique fleet of climate-monitoring satellites that is set to make a big contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as noted at the One Planet Summit last December.