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EarthCARE MSI moves ahead

SSTL is supplying the EarthCARE Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) instrument for ESA’s EarthCARE mission. With spacecraft prime being EADS Astrium GmbH, EarthCARE is a joint European-Japanese mission, addressing the need for a better understanding of the interactions between cloud, radiative and aerosol processes that play a role in climate regulation. Scientists agree that the knowledge of processes involving clouds, aerosol and radiation is far too limited. A better understanding of these processes could for example lead to more reliable climate predictions and weather forecasts. The objective of the EarthCARE mission is the observation of clouds and aerosols from low Earth orbit. The MSI instrument will provide information on the horizontal variability of the atmospheric conditions, to identify e.g. cloud type, textures, and temperature, and will form Earth images in seven spectral bands: one visible (VIS), one near-IR (NIR), two short-wave IR (SWIR) and three thermal IR (TIR). The images of the Earth are captured and data recorded by two cameras "“ the VNS camera (covering the VIS, NIR and SWIR bands) and the TIR camera. The VNS and TIR cameras are part of the MSI Optical Bench Module (OBM) which is mounted on an external spacecraft panel, connected via a harness to the MSI Instrument Control Unit (ICU). The MSI ICU is located within the interior of the satellite and is being developed by SEA (Bristol). A CAD image of the MSI OBM is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: MSI Optical Bench Module
Figure 1: MSI Optical Bench Module
The TIR camera is being developed by SSTL with support from ABSL (Oxford) for the TIR blackbody and University of Reading for the filters and dichroics. An expanded view of the TIR camera showing the major building blocks of the camera is shown below (see Figure 2). The VNS camera is being developed by TNO with support from XenICs for the VNS detectors.





07 June 20110 Comments1 Comment

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