Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

SMOS satellite instrument comes alive

Date:
November 20, 2009
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
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.

Artist's impression of SMOS in orbit. SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity), an ESA Earth Explorer satellite, was launched into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on Monday 2 November 2009. Credits:
Credit: ESA - AOES Medialab

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.

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.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "SMOS satellite instrument comes alive." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120000709.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2009, November 20). SMOS satellite instrument comes alive. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120000709.htm
European Space Agency. "SMOS satellite instrument comes alive." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091120000709.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

AFP (Sep. 12, 2014) — In June 2013, 10 foreign mountaineers and their guide were murdered on Nanga Parbat, an iconic peak that stands at 8,126m tall in northern Pakisan. Duration: 02:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — Two solar flares which erupted in our direction this week will arrive this weekend. The resulting solar storm will be powerful but not dangerous. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — The Ozone layer is recovering thickness! Hooray! But in helping its recovery, we may have also helped put more greenhouse gases out there. Hooray? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins