The integration of Sentinel-6A, the first of two satellites to continue measuring sea levels from 2020, has reached a new milestone and its critical phase: the propulsion module has been “mated” with the main structure of the satellite at Airbus.
In a complex operation, the Airbus satellite specialists hoisted the approximately fivemetre- high satellite platform with pinpoint precision over the drive module, which had already been positioned. The two components were then fixed in place and assembled. Before this could happen, the propulsion module, which includes the engines, control devices and a 240-litre tank with an innovative fuel management system, had to undergo technical acceptance, since this subsystem can no longer be accessed once it has been integrated. The propulsion module now needs to be ‘hooked up’, which will then be followed by the system tests.
Two Sentinel-6 satellites for the European Copernicus Programme for environment and security, headed by the European Commission and ESA, are currently being developed under Airbus’ industrial leadership, each weighing roughly 1.5 tonnes. From November 2020, Sentinel-6A will be the first to continue collecting satellite-based measurements of the oceans’ surfaces, a task that began in 1992. Sentinel-6B is then expected to follow in 2025.
Aeolus, the European Space Agency’s wind sensing satellite, built by Airbus, has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite will now undergo a series of tests in its operational orbit at 320km before beginning operations. Built by Airbus, Aeolus is the first satellite capable of performing global wind-component-profile observation on a daily basis in near realtime. The 1.4-tonne spacecraft features a LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) instrument called Aladin, which uses the Doppler effect to determine the wind speed at varying altitudes.
CASIS and Teledyne Brown Eng announce remote sensing challenge
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) recently announced a sponsored program up to $4.5 million, offering researchers the ability to propose flight project concepts for the International Space Station (ISS) focused on remote sensing and Earth observation. Within this opportunity, up to $1 million will be available for researchers to support sensor development. Prospective awardees will utilize the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) platform, developed and managed by TBE. This funding opportunity will run through December 7, 2018. www.spacestationresearch.com
Phase One Industrial launches 150MP metric camera
Phase One Industrial has launched the iXM-RS metric camera series and new Aerial Systems. The flagship iXM-RS150F camera is full frame, 150 megapixels and available in RGB and Achromatic models. Its ultra-high resolution (14204 x10652) backside illuminated CMOS sensor, fast capture speed (2 fps) and enhanced light sensitivity enable increased productivity in a wide range of aerial image acquisition projects. https://industrial.phaseone.com
The operating conditions might be unconventional, and the means of transport is certainly far from common, but a modular aerial camera system (MACS) developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been installed on board the POLAR 5 research aircraft of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). Its purpose is to acquire images of the Inuvik region in Canada. The measurement campaign being conducted by the AWI seeks to investigate and acquire a better understanding of climate processes in the Arctic. The DLR engineers and scientists are making the most of this mission north of the Arctic Circle to test the MACS polar aerial camera that they have developed and built.
Changes to the permafrost soil are being measured to better understand the effects of global warming, as large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are stored within it and are increasingly being released. www.dlr.de
Fugro is introducing a new bathymetric lidar system that delivers industry-leading depth penetration and point densities for near-shore and coastal mapping. Known as RAMMS (Rapid Airborne Multi-beam Mapping System), the fieldproven technology promises to deliver an efficient and cost-effective solution, dramatically improving upon other bathymetric lidar mapping capabilities.
RAMMS was developed in partnership with Areté Associates. The system utilises push-broom laser technology and is based on 20 years of cutting-edge military technology for mine detection, developed via the U.S. Navy Small Business Innovated Research (SBIR) programme. It is also underpinned by over 25 years of bathymetric lidar experience for nautical charting.
ISRO and its commercial wing Antrix has said they are willing to outsource manufacturing of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) so that the space agency could focus on the proposed human space programme.
The Indian Space Research Organisation held discussions recently with a consortium of industries regarding PSLV industrialisation with the objective of easing ISRO to focus on human space programme and researchand development activities.