Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SMOS satellite instrument comes alive

23.11.2009
The MIRAS instrument on ESA's SMOS satellite, launched earlier this month, has been switched on and is operating normally. MIRAS will map soil moisture and ocean salinity to improve our understanding of the role these two key variables play in regulating Earth’s water cycle.

"Following the switch-on, MIRAS is working beautifully well with all key subsystems, including all of the receivers, the optical fibres and the correlator unit, in perfect functioning condition," said ESA’s Manuel Martin-Neira, SMOS Instrument Principal Engineer.

"We have been able to produce reasonable test data even without in-orbit calibration."

MIRAS (Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis) is an L-band radiometer with 69 receivers mounted on three deployed arms to measure the radiation coming from Earth.

In order to measure accurately, the receivers must be within a +/-3°C temperature range of each other, with the optimal operating temperature at 22°C. Heaters are installed on the satellite to achieve the temperature needed.

First MIRAS signal received
Switching on the instrument begins with activating the central payload computer, which controls many of the instrument’s subsystems and gives instructions to the distributed command and monitoring modes on each arm.

To assess the electrical performance of the instrument after switch-on while limiting the consumption of heater power, the physical temperature for start up was set to 10°C.

"The active thermal control is now in operation and is keeping the instrument well within the expected temperature range," Mr Martin-Neira said. "Tomorrow we expect to assess the payload at the final 22°C temperature."

The central payload computer also controls the 'mass memory', which collects all the science data from the receivers and sends them to receiving stations on the ground. The high-speed downlink, which transmits the data to the ground station, was switched on, and data have been transmitted to ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), in Villafranca, Spain. The data acquisition and processing systems located at ESAC are also working well, and the first test of the product generation system has been successful.

"With the critical launch and early orbit phase completed, the engineers can now evaluate the quality of the downlinks and concentrate on the calibration of the instrument," SMOS Project Manager Achim Hahne said.

SMOS in orbit
Data provided by MIRAS will be important for weather and climate modelling, water resource management, agriculture planning, ocean currents and circulation studies and forecasting hazardous events such as floods.

"We are very happy that we have received the first data from MIRAS, which we expect to make very strong contributions to scientists' understanding of Earth's water cycle," said Guillermo Buenadicha, SMOS Payload Operations Engineer at ESAC.

"We are now looking forward to analysing the first data and to start testing the processing systems in the ground station," SMOS Mission Manager Susanne Mecklenburg said.

The SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) Earth Explorer satellite and ESA's Proba-2 were launched into orbit together from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on 2 November.

Robert Meisner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.int
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/smos/SEMQRJOC02G_0.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display
19.02.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Why bees soared and slime flopped as inspirations for systems engineering
19.02.2018 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>