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India turns on first weather bird

Sept 20, 2002 The Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) on board India’s first exclusive meteorological satellite, METSAT, was successfully switched on from Master Control Facility, Hassan at 12:45 hours on September 19, 2002 [0745 UTC].The earth image in the Visible spectral band was taken in full- frame mode, which covers the full earth disc and the adjoining deep space. The earth imaging in Water Vapour and Infra-red spectral bands were commanded at 08:15 and 09:00 hours respectively on September 20, 2002 [0315 UTC and 0400 UTC]. The images taken in the Visible, Water Vapour and Thermal Infra-red spectral bands received at Master Control Facility, Hassan are of excellent quality.

VHRR on board METSAT has the capability to take images of earth in three spectral bands, — Visible, Water Vapour and Thermal Infra-Red. The pictures provide a spatial resolution of 2 km x 2 km in Visible band and 8 km x 8 km in Water Vapour and thermal Infra-red bands. In addition to VHRR, the METSAT carries a Data Relay Transponder (DRT) configured to collect local meteorological information from unattended data collection platforms and relay them to Meteorological Data Utilisation Centre at New Delhi.

It may be recalled that METSAT was launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C4, from Satish Dhawan Space Center, SHAR on September 12, 2002. Following the successful launch, orbit raising manoeuvres were conducted and the spacecraft was placed in the near Geo-Synchronous Orbit (GSO). It is now moving towards its intended orbital slot of 74 deg East longitude as per the plans. The 3-axis stabilisation of the spacecraft was carried out on September 16, 2002. The drift arresting manoeuvres were started yesterday from MCF, Hassan and the spacecraft is expected to be positioned in its designated orbital slot of 74 degree East on September 24, 2002. The detailed In-Orbit Testing (IOT) of the payload will start from September 23, 2002 and operational meteorological services from METSAT are expected to commence from the first week of October 2002.