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SCIAMACHY – Operations and Data Exploitation

Research project PX/8/EO/13 (Research action PX)


Persons :

  • Dr.  MULLER Christian - Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2005-31/12/2007

Description :

Activity 1: instrument scientific supervision. The instrument, including its Belgian contributed PMD (Polarization measuring device) is now active on the ENVISAT satellite since its launch on the first of March 2002; since June 2002, nominal operations are performed including a pre-validation phase. At the present stage (November 2005), the PMD has been monitored without the assistance of a specialised industrial contract as this system did not require any special treatment either during SODAP (switch-on and data acquisition procedure), the commissioning tests or the first operational sequences. However, due to the polarisation complexity of the instrument, it not excluded that hardware experience regarding PMD properties will not be required in the near future. The Aeronomy Institute will participate in SCIAMACHY flight operations each time that PMD support is required by the flight management. As co-PI, the institute shares responsibility for instrument operations and participates in the formal and informal bodies that will decide on flight operations during all phases of the flight including an extended phase that could extend after 2040. Since launch, an efficient communication system has limited the number of attended operations requiring full team support to three; attended data acquisition for monitoring purposes has been limited to one. Also, the commissioning difficulties, essentially related to the integration of the flight software of both satellite and payload, have shown that a total reset of the instrument was a simple and efficient recovery procedure in all encountered cases, thus limiting the need to assemble large teams of experts during future contingency operations.

Activity 2: supervision of scientific studies outside the validation activities already funded under the general ENVISAT exploitation proposals. Two scientific proposals were accepted by ESA in order to enhance the scientific aspects of these monitoring activities: the first, AO 238: ENVI-PACE, concerns the use of the PMD data. The PMD measures in six channels the polarisation status of the light entering each of the spectrometers. Its main purpose is to provide the basis for a polarisation correction on the main instrument channels, thus ensuring their radiometric accuracy. However, it can act as a science channel in itself for several important scientific objectives: cloud detection, aerosol characterisation and, due to its multi-spectral character: colour monitoring. This operation will be realised in synergy with the ENVISAT MERIS instrument which is also envisaged for an extended mission and which will provide a revised data set in the beginning of 2006.

The second scientific program: AO 146: AALIM addresses the observation of airglow and auroral emissions by SCIAMACHY and MIPAS at the auroral oval crossings, night-side, twilight and daytime.

Satellite(s) or flight opportunity(ies):
- SCIAMACHY on ENVISAT
- MIPAS on ENVISAT
- MERIS on ENVISAT

Field of research:

Earth Observation: Atmospheric Chemistry


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