Sentinel 5P: Imaging Spectrometer to Map Trace Gases

Sentinel 5 Precursor is the forerunner of Sentinel 5 to provide timely data on a multitude of trace gases and aerosols affecting air quality and climate. These data will be used for air quality monitoring services through Europe’s Copernicus program. Sentinel 5P carries the imaging spectrometer Tropomi. (Source: ESA / ATG medialab)

Sofradir announced that its detector Tropomi is among the instruments that launched Friday, 13th September, aboard the Sentinel 5 Precursor satellite from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia. The mission of Sentinel 5P, one of the fleet of satellites within Europe’s Copernicus program, is to monitor Earth’s atmosphere.

The Tropomi detector is installed in the spectrometer of the same name; a state-of-the-art monitoring instrument, whose role is to map numerous trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols – elements affecting the quality of the air we breathe.

“It is always an extremely gratifying time when, after years of development, we see our detector operational in space,” says Philippe Chorier, space activities manager at Sofradir. “Air pollution is a global challenge. So we are pleased to contribute to Sentinel 5P’s role in assuring the continuity between Sciamachy, the imaging spectrometer on the Envisat satellite, and the future Sentinel 5 satellite, of which SWIR detectors for the high-resolution spectrometer UVNS are also in development at Sofradir.”

According to ESA, once operational, Tropomi will map the global atmosphere daily with a resolution as high as 7 km  3.5 km. Air pollution over cities can be detected at this resolution.

Sofradir’s involvement in the Sentinel 5P mission started in 2011 with the manufacturing of 1000 × 256 SWIR arrays, known as Saturn detectors. These are based on passive cooling and an optimized thermal interface to extend the operational lifetime of the detector. Flight models were delivered in 2012, performing in the range of 140 – 150 K with a capacity to collect data in the 2305 – 2385 nm spectral band. This new large format SWIR detector in space comes on top of numerous other detectors called Neptune that Sofradir has previously supplied for launch and deployment in space. The Tropomi detector, which will be the first Saturn-based detector deployed in space, brings the number of Sofradir IR detectors that have been launched to 36. Numerous other Saturn detectors are planned for launch soon through several other space missions, including Hysui and Prisma. (Source: Sofradir)

Link: Sofradir – Société Française de Détecteurs Infrarouge, Palaiseau, France

Further reading: Sofradir Designs First Supersize NIR Detector for Space, photonicsviews.com, 26th June 2017

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