Next spring will mark a significant milestone in the Earth observation calendar. The decision will be taken as to which of the three concepts competing to be the next Earth Explorer satellite mission will be developed and built. Prior to this important decision, scientists and data users will be able to discuss the merits of each of the three candidates and express their views at a consultation meeting, which ESA is planning to hold on 5–6 March in Graz, Austria.
In May 2013, ESA will make a final decision as to which of the following missions shall be developed as the seventh Earth Explorer:- Biomass- CoReH2O- PREMIER
CarbonSat’s new imaging method has now been tested using an airborne sensor called Mamap. Developed by the University of Bremen and the GFZ Research Centre for Geosciences, it uses an extremely accurate solar absorption spectroscopy technique, the same as would be used by CarbonSat. Carried on an aircraft, the novel Mamap measures atmospheric carbon dioxide from power plants and methane from coalmine ventilation shafts in Germany.
Mamap will be put to task again this summer, this time in California, USA, over land and over the ocean. A workshop on the latest developments in measuring greenhouse gases from space will be held on 5–7 May at ESA’s Technical Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. As well as CarbonSat, the FLEX mission, which aims to quantify vegetation fluorescence, is being studied in parallel as a candidate for ESA’s eighth Earth Explorer. A decision on which mission will go forward is likely to be made next year.
As a critical input to the decision-making process that will lead to the selection of ESA’s eighth Earth Explorer mission, the Reports for Mission Selection of the two candidate opportunity missions – CarbonSat and FLEX – are now available.The selection will take place following a User Consultation Meeting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland on 15–16 September 2015, where the Earth observation scientific community is invited to participate.
A European Earth observation advisory committee has selected a mission to map global vegetation fluorescence to measure plant-stored carbon ahead of a carbon- and methane-monitoring satellite as Europe’s next Earth Explorer mission.
The committee’s recommendation is all but certain to be adopted by the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation Program Board when it convenes in mid-November.
PARIS– Airbus Defence and Space UK will build the European Space Agency’s Biomass forest-carbon-monitoring satellite under a contract valued at 229 million euros ($260 million), the two parties announced May 3.Stevenage, England-based Airbus UK will be prime contractor for the 1,250-kilogram spacecraft, which is expected to launch in 2021, they said.Biomass’s showcase instrument will be its P-band synthetic-aperture radar antenna, whose main instrument will be built by Airbus’s Friedrichshafen, Germany, facility, with the 12-meter-diameter deployable antenna built by Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Florida.The 22-nation ESA has budgeted the entire Biomass mission at 420 million euros, a figure that includes the satellite’s construction, launch aboard a European Vega rocket and five years of operations in low Earth orbit.The mission is designed to observe annual changes in biomass in most of the world’s forests over multiple growth cycles.
Airbus UK to build Europe’s Biomass satellite, featuring first use of P-band radar