France: Airbus Defence and Space has signed a contract with the French space agency (CNES) to build the platform and carry out final integration of the MERLIN (MEthane Remote sensing LIdar missioN) satellite. From 2020 MERLIN will measure methane (CH4), one of the main greenhouse gases, in the Earth’s atmosphere. MERLIN is the first joint Earth observation satellite programme between the French (CNES) and German (DLR) space agencies.
According to the company’s press release, MERLIN is one of the European satellite programmes designed to study greenhouse gases and the phenomenon of global warming. Using its LiDAR instrument, MERLIN will ‘probe’ the atmosphere to determine the varying concentrations of methane, which, together with carbon dioxide (CO2), is one of the main contributors to the greenhouse effect. MERLIN is supposedly the first institutional programme to be based on the new AstroBus-S platform, developed by Airbus Defence and Space in partnership with CNES, as part of the French Investment for the Future Programme (Plan d’Investissements d’Avenir – Myriade Evolutions). AstroBus-S will form the basis of the Airbus Defence and Space range of 400 kg class Earth observation satellites for imaging, climatology and science missions.
Source: Airbus Space and Defence