ESA awards environmental monitoring contract

ESA awards environmental monitoring contract

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UK: Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) won EUR 10.69 million contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) via Dutch Space to provide a Short Wave Infra-Red (SWIR) spectrometer as part of the TROPOMI instrument for the Sentinel 5 Precursor atmospheric monitoring mission.

The SWIR spectrometer will be used to measure carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4) – the latter being the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas – in the atmosphere. The Sentinel 5 Precursor mission will provide a source of accurate and detailed data following the completion of the European Space Agency’s Envisat Mission. This will allow scientists to continue to study both air quality and climate change until Sentinel 5 is launched in the next decade.

SSTL’s Optical Payloads Group will coordinate an industrial consortium including the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) and Sofradir (France) to procure and integrate the precision remote sensing instrument.

The Sentinel 5 Precursor builds on the developments of the TROPOMI instrument which is led by Dutch Space, The Netherlands, as Prime Contractor. TROPOMI, which is co-funded by The Netherlands and ESA, includes substantially improved SWIR measurements compared to the SCIAMACHY instrument onboard Envisat. A push-broom replaces SCIAMACHY’s scanning instrument providing much smaller pixels (7km2x7km2 vs 120km2x30km2), and the measurement sensitivity is also greatly improved. Immersed grating technology will increase the effective resolution of the instrument without increasing the size and mass of the module.  

Another new development lies in the use of Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) detectors that are expected to be less susceptible to in-flight radiation damage than the NIR extended-wavelength InGaAs detector arrays onboard Envisat.

Source: SSTL