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An ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) satellite, SARAL (Satellite with ARgos and ALtika), will embark the AltiKa altimeter (working in Ka-band, 35 GHz), built by CNES, as well as a Doris instrument. Signal frequencies in the Ka-band will enable better observation of ice, rain, coastal zones, land masses (forests, etc.), and wave heights.

The Saral mission is complementary to Jason-2. Its objectives are:

  • To realize precise, repetitive global measurements of sea surface height, significant wave heights and wind speed for
    • developping operational oceanography;
    • understanding of climate and developing
    • forecasting capabilities;
    • operational meteorology.
  • To ensure, from 2009, in association with Jason-2, the continuity of the service given today by the altimeters onboard Envisat and Jason-1,
  • To answer the need expressed by the ocean and climate study international programs, and contribute to the building of a global ocean observing system.

The proposed payload integrates:

  • a high-resolution AltiKa altimeter, that includes a bi-frequency radiometric function,
  • the Doris precise orbitography system, in association with a laser retroflector (LRA).

The launch of this mission is planned for the end of 2009, with a life of 3 years (2 year for the nominal phase, and one year for the extended phase). This mission is a cooperation between CNES and ISRO.

SARAL payload is being planned to be accommodated in the mini-satellite bus in the 400-450 kg class, named as SSB-1. The bus is being developed miniaturising the currently proven operational mainframe subsystems. SARAL satellite mission is planned to be launched during late-2009 into a sun-synchronous, 6 am-6 pm orbit at an altitude of around 800 km. SARAL will provide Data Products to the operational and research user communities, in support of Marine meteorology and sea state forecasting; Operational oceanography; Seasonal forecasting; Climate monitoring; and Ocean, Earth system and climate research.

Nation: India, France
Type / Application: Earth Science
Operator: ISRO, CNES
Contractors: ISRO, CNES
Equipment: ARGOS, ALTIKA
Configuration: Minisatellite-SSB (SSB-2)
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 3 years
Mass: 346 kg
Orbit: 800 km
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
SARAL 2013-009A 25.02.2013 Sr FLP PSLV-CA with Sapphire, NEOSSAT, UniBRITE, TUGsat 1 (BRITE-Austria), STRaND 1, AAUSAT 3