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Thales Alenia Space (TAS) has signed a €72 million contract with prime contractor OHB System to develop payloads for the two satellites of the CO2M mission, aimed at measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human activity.

Part of the EU’s COPERNICUS programme, the mission will reduce current uncertainties regarding the consequences of combustion of fossil fuel at national and regional scales, thus providing the EU with a unique, independent source of information to support assessment of policy effectiveness and track progress towards meeting national emission reduction targets.

TAS (a 67/33% joint venture between Thales and Leonardo) will adopt a modular design for the CO2M payload, which will be built around:

• A combined CO2/NO2 instrument based on a near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer, provided by TAS France;

• A multi-angle polarimeter (MAP), based on four identical cameras in a dedicated optical unit, provided by TAS UK;

• A cloud imager (CLIM), derived from the flight-proven ProbaV instrument, provided by OIP Sensors in Belgium.

The CO2M payload will deliver the following results, with the required rigorous scientific accuracy: highly accurate quantitative measurement of CO2 and NO2 concentrations; measurements of aerosols density; and cloud detection and mapping, thereby ensuring maximum accuracy and error corrections.

The CO2M mission is unique and marks an important milestone for Europe in terms of leadership with regard to climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases. Thales Alenia Space is [bringing] all its flight-proven expertise in Earth Observation to serve the ambitious goal to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human activity. This is in line with our Space For Life aspiration for a more sustainable life on Earth,” commented Hervé Derrey, TAS CEO.

Both TAS parent companies have low carbon strategies. Indeed, Thales has developed an ambitious strategy for a low carbon future through its own voluntary initiatives but also thanks to the high technologies developed for its clients. It includes a better understanding of climate phenomena, particularly with the development of dedicated space systems. Leonardo is also strongly committed to developing new-frontier space technologies for monitoring and protecting the environment. Both companies support the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.

Thales Alenia Space is to develop a modular payload for the COPERNICUS CO2M mission. (Photo: Thales)

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