Airbus has been awarded a €160M contract for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) FORUM satellite to measure heat emitted from the Earth into space.
FORUM, short for Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring, will be the first satellite to observe Earth in the far-infrared part of the spectrum, providing unique measurements of the Earth’s outgoing energy to help improve understanding of the climate system.
Measurements from FORUM’s spectrometer will enable scientists to compile a high resolution view of the Earth’s greenhouse effect and the properties of ice clouds and water vapour in the atmosphere.
Measuring infrared radiation from Earth for first time
Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Airbus Space Systems said: “This critical Earth observation mission to measure infrared radiation from the Earth for the first time, will give scientists and climatologists the data they need to improve their global warming forecasts.
“It builds on Airbus’ heritage in designing and manufacturing cost efficient small Earth observation missions including Sentinel-5P and is the sixth Airbus primed Earth Explorer mission for the European Space Agency.”
Science Minister George Freeman said: “This important new mission to further improve the accuracy of climate forecasts and view our planet through new eyes is another illustration of UK space tech expertise. Scientists at Imperial College London provided key support to ESA in defining FORUM’s science objectives and the satellite is set to be built by Airbus in Stevenage.
“This is a significant industrial contract which demonstrates the UK’s strengths in Earth observation technology and satellite manufacturing, as well as our global leadership in tackling climate change.”
Simonetta Cheli, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said: “We are thrilled to award the industrial contract to Airbus in the UK as Prime Contractor for FORUM, with OHB in Germany responsible for the instrument. FORUM adds to our highly successful family of Earth Explorer missions and, by acquiring novel information, will bring great benefits to climate science.”
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