Imaging sensors onboard satellite to measure climate change

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NASA's new Earth observation satellite, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP), equipped with e2v high performance imaging sensors, has been launched into space on 28 October.

The NPP satellite will measure global climate changes and key weather variables, and is the first mission designed to collect critical data to improve weather forecasts in the short-term and increase our understanding of long-term climate change.

The satellite carries five instruments which will capture data on the environment such as the ozone layer, land cover, atmospheric temperatures and ice cover, which are critical for global change science. e2v imaging sensors equip the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp, an advanced suite of three hyperspectral instruments. These will measure the ozone by collecting light from the sun reflected from the atmosphere. Ozone molecules absorb particular frequencies of light and these absorption signatures are used to calculate the amount of ozone present over the entire globe.

The e2v imaging sensors for the OMPS instrument are a custom design, using a proprietary back-illumination technology to optimise the performance in the optical wavebands of interest. They have been subjected to a rigorous qualification process to ensure that they can withstand the requirements of this operational mission.

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