In order to predict the genesis of cyclones in the oceans, the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) — an arm of ISRO — is developing a new, miniature weather-forecasting satellite — ScatSat — at the cost of an estimated Rs 300 crore.

  • This satellite is expected to take over some of the functions of OCEANSAT-2, a satellite that had accurately predicted the landfall of cyclone Phailin on the Orissa coast in October 2013.
  • Purpose:The indigenously developed weather forecasting satellite will be equipped with on board instruments to monitor sea surface winds and help predict the genesis of cyclones
  • This ScatSat satellite will measure the wind speed and it’s direction over the ocean. It can predict the formation of cyclones, about 4-5 days in advance. This time period is very crucial in saving lives
  • Payload:The primary payload of ScatSat-1 is a scatterometer to keep a watch on the speed and direction of ocean winds that indicate the formation and strengthening of cyclones.
  • The amazing fact about this satellite, weighing 301 kg, is that it is being built at 60% of the actual cost, and in one-third of the estimated time. About 40% of satellite is made by recycling the leftover equipment from previous satellite missions. It will be launched in July 2016 and will have a mission life of five years.
  • The data generated by this mini-satellite will be used by NASA, EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

What is Scatterometer:

A scatterometer in the satellite will help predict formation of cyclones in the seas. Such predictions help in timely evacuation and minimise human casualties. A scatterometer is a microwave radar sensor. It measures the scattering effect produced while scanning the surface of the Earth from an aircraft or a satellite. It will measure the direction and speed of winds over the seas and oceans. The satellite has been designed to withstand multiple system failures, unlike the last one.


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