France will partner India in its next Mars mission, which the Indian Space Research Organisation plans to launch in 2018. French space agency, CNES has signed a letter of intent with the ISRO for French participation in the next Mars mission.
India’s first Mars mission was a technology demonstrator. Its success led to the planning of Mars-2 mission for carrying out more substantive scientific experiments. As the slot in 2016 is out of question because of the non-availability of a suitable launch vehicle, the plan is to have the second mission in 2018 when the reliable PSLV could be used. A lander and a rover is being thought of in the second Indian Mars mission.
In addition to the Mars programme, India and France signed agreements for a future earth observation satellite and putting French Argos-4 data collection payload in the Oceansat-3, which may be launched in 2018 to provide continuity of data for already established services in the area of oceanographic applications. The earth observation project is to have a joint thermal infrared mission.
The leaders of both countries have expressed confidence that these missions would contribute significantly to the monitoring of environment, weather, water resources and coastal zones and further strengthen the partnership between the two countries.India and France currently have two joint payloads Megha-Tropiques and SARAL for studying tropical atmosphere and sea surface.