Already involved since 2018 in the Altius (Atmospheric Limb Tracker for the Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere) stratosphere observation mission at several levels, the software engineering company SPACEBEL ended the year 2020 in style.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has now officially awarded the SME a new contract to supply the payload data ground segment. This operational ground infrastructure will be located in Redu and Uccle will process the data produced by the on-board instrument before their transmission to the various users.
As part of the European "Earth Watch" programme, with Belgium as the main contributor accounting for 94% of the budget, Altius is a micro satellite dedicated to the operational monitoring of stratospheric ozone profiles. This new ESA mission, initiated by the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB), will detect the composition of the atmosphere and changes in the stratospheric ozone layer. In addition to greenhouse gases, the satellite will measure other traces of atmospheric gases such as aerosols that are damaging the quality of air on Earth.
In view of the current environmental challenges, Altius will also provide a response, for a minimum period of 3 years, to the imminent shortage of satellites capable of monitoring the presence of the atmosphere components.
From a technological point of view, Altius is characterised by a sightline on the horizon that should establish ozone profiles with the required resolution. In keeping with the Proba family, the development and operation of the future Belgian satellite will go along with cost optimisation. Its launch is scheduled for the end of 2023 from Kourou.
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