Contract awarded for CO monitoring satellites

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OHB System, a German satellite systems specialist, recently secured the contract to supply the European Space Agency (ESA) with two satellites to form the foundations of the agency’s Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Mission (CO2M).

OHB will lead an industrial consortium to start building the two satellites. As the main contractor, it will be responsible for the overall project, and is also developing the satellite platforms. As the main sub-contractor, Thales Alenia Space will supply the instruments, including the near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer that will measure emissions of carbon dioxide.

According to ESA, although ground measurements have made it possible to track general changes in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, it is not possible to make reliable statements about anthropogenic emissions from individual countries, or even individual regions and cities. The Copernicus mission aims to close this gap.

The contract for the CO2M mission is the first to be signed following ESA’s industrial committee approval to proceed with the development of the six new Copernicus high-priority missions in July. These new missions will follow on from the suite of Sentinel missions that are currently at the heart of the EU’s Copernicus environmental monitoring program.

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