Paris, France: Furthering Europe’s capacity to monitor atmospheric pollution, the European Space Agency (ESA) awarded a contract worth EUR 45.5 million to Astrium UK to act as prime contractor for the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite system.
Scheduled to be launched in 2015, Sentinel-5 Precursor (Sentinel-5P) will be the first satellite dedicated to monitoring atmospheric chemistry for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme.
ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig, said, “This contract marks another significant milestone in the development of our series of Sentinel satellites to serve GMES. Sentinel-5P will ensure we have continuous data to monitor the ozone hole and tropospheric pollution.”
As Sciamachy on ESA’s Envisat and the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura mission come to the end of their lives, Sentinel-5P will fill the gap between current atmospheric capabilities from low polar orbit and the launch of Sentinel-5, envisaged for around 2020.
Sentinel-5P will therefore ensure that atmospheric data are available for climate modelling and weather forecasting between 2015 and 2022.
The satellite will carry the Tropospheric Ozone Monitoring Instrument, or Tropomi. This advanced imaging absorption spectrometer will provide data on atmospheric trace gases and aerosols that affect air quality and climate.
It measures ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and other atmospheric pollutants at a higher resolution than currently available.