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Mission: SARAL-AltiKa

The SARAL-AltiKa project is a collaboration between France and India. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellite ‘Saral’ with its two independent payloads ARgos and ALtika are embarked on a mission to promote the study of environment in space.

The Saral mission is complementary to Jason-2. It is basically focused to understand climate and its forecasting capabilities, operational meteorology. This mission will give a clear picture of repetitive global measurements of sea surface height, significant wave heights and wind speed for developing operational oceanography.

The AltiKa project, which is developed by Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES, a French government space agency), is based on a wideband Ka-band altimeter (35.75 GHz, 500 MHz), which will be the first oceanography altimeter to operate at such a high frequency. This unique technical characteristic of the instrument will offer higher performance both in terms of spatial and vertical resolution.

The high-resolution AltiKa altimeter has a dual-frequency radiometric function which allows the altimetry measurements to be corrected for the effects due to the signal passing through the wet troposphere. This is coupled with the Doris (Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositionning Integrated by Satellite) precise orbit determination system, in association with a laser retro-reflector (LRA), which determines the satellite's precise position in orbit. This parameter is essential for measuring sea level.

AltiKa data will play a major role in the development of operational oceanography and its forecasting capabilities.The Saral satellite will be placed on Envisat's orbit, is scheduled to be launch at the end of 2010.


Mass: 350 / 400 kg

Altika payload: < 65 kg

Dimensions: 1 m x 1 m x 2.6 m

Orbit: Low orbit- 800 km
           Polar- 98°
           Sun-synchronous- 6:00 / 18:00

Instruments- Altimeter / radiometer
                       Laser retroreflector

Status: Phase B/C/D

Nominal operational lifetime: 5 years

- Courtesy:
        CNES Website

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