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Space
Thales Alenia Space to work on MicroCarb satellite
Thales Alenia Space to work on MicroCarb satellite
© CNES

| Staff writer

Thales Alenia Space to work on MicroCarb satellite

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the UK Space Agency to work on MicroCarb, a joint UK-French satellite mission which will measure sources and sinks of carbon dioxide.

Thales Alenia Space in the UK has signed a contract with the UK Space Agency to work on MicroCarb, a joint UK-French satellite mission which will measure sources and sinks of carbon dioxide. It is the first European mission intended to characterise greenhouse gas fluxes on Earth’s surface and gauge how much carbon is being absorbed by oceans and forests, the main sinks on the planet.

The mission, scheduled to launch in 2020, will also contribute to international efforts to measure how much carbon gas is being emitted by natural processes and human activities. MicroCarb will enable the UK Space Agency and France's CNES space agency to pave the way for a longer-term operational system in response to the Paris COP21 Agreement.

The satellite's dispersive spectrometer instrument will be able to measure the total column concentration of CO2 with a high degree of precision over the whole Earth, and on a regional scale to inform climate change decision making.

Thales Alenia Space engineers will work closely with the CNES project team and then take full responsibility to manage and deliver the satellite Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) programme at the UK’s National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) in Harwell. This facility, due to open in 2020, has been awarded £99m in funding by the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to boost the UK’s space capabilities for the design and build of more complex space instruments and technologically advanced satellites.

The Assembly Integration and Test of the MicroCarb satellite is Thales Alenia Space in the UK’s first opportunity to work with CNES to deliver on an important Earth Observation Mission.

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