Taking CARE of business

  • 30-Jun-2008 09:46 EDT

The European Space Agency (ESA) awarded a €263 million contract to EADS’s Astrium unit to develop and build the EarthCARE Earth observation satellite. EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer) will focus on clouds, tiny particles in the atmosphere—aerosols—and their influence on atmospheric radiation. Having a mass of 1.7 t, the satellite is scheduled to lift off into space in September 2013. EarthCARE will spend three years taking measurements from a polar orbit (97° inclination) at an altitude of about 400 km. Astrium (Friedrichshafen, Germany) will be responsible for the industrial management of EarthCARE and the integration and test activities. The satellite is equipped with four instruments, two passive and two active sensors that will supply a unique data package with only one satellite mission. Astrium (Toulouse, France) will supply the active laser instrument ATLID, while the platform (Astrium), the Multi-Spectral Imager MSI (SSTL), and the Broadband Radiometer BBR (SEA) are being produced in the U.K. The fourth instrument is the Cloud Profiling Radar, which will be supplied by the Japanese Space Agency.

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