A little over a month after the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, India on Thursday night successfully launched a dedicated weather monitoring satellite with search and rescue capabilities. Called INSAT – 3D, the India made satellite will help the weather department issue early warnings about storms and cloud bursts. The satellite also carries special equipment to measure atmospheric humidity and temperature and will help forecast heavy rainfall events. Experts say had it already been there, predicting the catastrophic rainfall over Uttarakhand in June would have been easier. Nearly 1000 people were killed in the flash floods and landslides in the state last month. Since the satellite will look specifically at the Indian region all day and night, weather predictions could become much more accurate. This latest space mission has cost India about Rs. 700 crores. Indian Space Research Organization’s 2060-kg satellite was launched from the French space port at Kourou in French Guyana in South America using the tested Ariane-5 rocket in its 69th launch. “I am happy to inform that the master control facility in India has already received signals from INSAT-3D. We are looking forward to an excellent operational performance of the satellite for the next seven years. This will help weather forecasting and disaster warnings systems of the country,” said ISRO Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan. INSAT-3D launch was delayed by two years because India’s heavy launch rocket – the Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle – has been out of commission.