Remote sounding of the Earth's Atmospheric Limb from a micro-satellite platform: A feasibility study of the ALTIUS mission
Earth and related Environmental sciences
High vertical resolutions
Measurement data sets
Satellite platform designs
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There is more and more interest in the understanding and the monitoring of tiie physics and chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere and its impact on the climate change. Currently a significantly high number of sounders provide the required data to monitor the changes in atmosphere composition, but a dramatic drop in operational atmosphere monitoring missions is expected around 2010. This drop is mainly visible in sounders capable of a high vertical resolution. Currently, instruments on ENVISAT and METOP provide relevant data but this is envisaged to be insufficient to ensure full spatial and temporal coverage and redundancy in the measurement data set. ALTIUS (Atmospheric Limb Tracker for the Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere) is a remote sounding experiment proposed by the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA/IASB) for which a feasibility study was initiated with BELSPO (Belgian Science Policy) and ESA support. The main objective of this study phase was to establish a mission concept, to define the required payload and to establish a satellite platform design. The study was led by the BIRA/IASB team and performed in close collaboration with OIP (payload developer) and Verhaert Space (spacecraft developer). The mission scenario includes bright limb observations in basically all directions, solar occultations around the terminator passages and star occultations during eclipse. These observation modes allow imaging the atmosphere with a high vertical resolution. The spacecraft will be operated in a 10:00 sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 695 km, allowing a 3-day revisit time. The envisaged payload for the ALTIUS mission is an imaging spectrometer, observing in the UV, the VIS and the NIR spectral ranges. For each spectral range, an AOTF (Acousto-Optical Tunable Filter) will permit to perform observations of selectable small wavelength domains. A typical set of 10 wavelengths will be recorded within 1 second. The different operational modes impose a high agility capability on the platform. Furthermore, the quasicontinuous monitoring by the payload will drive the design of the platform in terms of power and downlink capabilities. The mission will be performed using a derivative of the PROBA platform, developed by Verhaert Space. This paper will present the mission requirements for the ALTIUS mission, the envisaged instrument, the spacecraft concept design and the related mission analysis.
CitationVrancken, D.; Paijmans, B.; Fussen, D.; Neefs, E.; Loodts, N.; Dekemper, E.; Vanhellemont, F.; Devos, L.; Moelans, W.; Nevejans, D.; Schroeven-Deceuninck, H.; Bernaerts, D.; Zender, J. (2008). Remote sounding of the Earth's Atmospheric Limb from a micro-satellite platform: A feasibility study of the ALTIUS mission. , ESA SP-660: The Proceedings of the 4S Symposium - Small Satellites Systems and Services, 26–30 May 2008, ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, Vol. 660,