How is our planet changing? How is the climate changing? Which role does humankind play in it? On the answers to these questions depend the future, the existence and the welfare of humanity. On the answers to these questions depend the measures which will be taken and decisions which are going to be made. The “Copernicus” program is a central element helping to find the answers and marks the beginning of a new era of imaging the earth from space. Copernicus is coordinated by the European Commission and the space segment of the program is financed and developed by the European Space Agency ESA. The “Sentinel” satellites will deliver an unprecedented wealth of earth observation data.
On June 23rd, the second sentinel satellite launched for its mission to observe the earth’s surface, since the weekend it has been sending its images. Sentinel-2A will open up a new way of looking at the earth.
Under a contract from Airbus Defence and Space, the Thuringian aerospace company developed and manufactured “the brain and control center of a unique earth observation instrument for the satellite”, summarizes Dietmar Ratzsch, CEO of Jena-Optronik, the company’s contribution. “Because of our engagement, it is possible to see the richness of color of our planet in every detail. The attitude and orbit control system of the satellite will be controlled by our star sensors ASTRO APS.”
On board the satellite is a multispectral imager (MSI). The thirteen spectral bands from visible light over near infrared to short wave infrared allow a differentiated observation of the earth surface with a swath width of 290 km. Jena-Optronik delivered both the Video Compression Unit (VCU) and the multi-spectral filter assemblies of the instrument. Tasks of the VCU are a high-resolution digitalization of 48 analogous video channels, adjustable preprocessing and compression as well as forwarding the data to the on-board computer of the satellite. The multi-spectral filter assemblies are part of the instrument optics and precisely dissection the light captured by MSI in thirteen spectral bands. The extremely demanding technical requirements for the filters could be mastered thanks to the competence of Jena-Optronik and its local partners. The long tradition in Jena in the field of optics pays off and the location Jena remains a valuable competitive advantage we continue to count on.
Please find the first picture of the satellite gere (Link to esa website - please take the copyright notes into account): first image from Sentinel-2A