Thales Alenia Space Switzerland is providing the readout electronics for the imaging spectrometer's detectors for Sentinel-5 P. Image provided by Thales Alenia Space Switzerland

Swiss companies support Sentinel-5 mission to monitor greenhouse gases

02 July 2024 09:52

CleantechAlpsSwissmem SSIGGreater Geneva Bern

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Zurich/Aigle - The European Sentinel-5 P mission and its successor Sentinel-5, which will follow from 2025, are to conduct atmospheric measurements in space. They are equipped with advanced technology developed in Switzerland and can deliver information on air quality, climate change, ozone and UV radiation.

Advanced technology from Switzerland is on board the Sentinel-5 Precursor (Sentinel-5 P) satellite. The companies APCO Technologies from Aigle in the canton of Vaud and Thales Alenia Space Switzerland are helping to ensure that the state-of-the-art TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) carried by the satellite can detect a variety of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols at an altitude of over 830 kilometres.

All these gases in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, influence the air we breathe on Earth and its climate. The mission will also monitor volcanic ash for aviation safety and provide warnings of high levels of UV radiation, which can cause skin damage. This is the first mission within the Copernicus programme of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) to monitor the Earth's atmosphere. The polar-orbiting satellite can map the entire Earth in one day with high temporal and spatial resolution.

Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, which is represented on eleven of twelve Copernicus missions, is providing the readout electronics for the imaging spectrometer's detectors for Sentinel-5 P, which was launched in Russia in October 2017. 

APCO Technologies' space division is one of the European market leaders in three areas: Flight Equipment, Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) and On-Site Services. APCO Technologies developed the platform structure of the satellite for this mission, including the optical bench for the multispectral camera.

The successor mission Sentinel-5 will launch in the second quarter of 2025. It too will feature Swiss technologies. The Copernicus Sentinel-5 spectrometer will fly on the polar-orbiting MetOp Second Generation weather satellite of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Together with three new instruments, it will further improve the air quality forecasts of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. The MetOp satellites are being built by a European industrial consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space with the European Space Agency (ESA) as contract partner. ce/mm

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