Airbus Defence and Space to Build MERLIN Satellite for France and Germany – Satellite Today


Artist’s rendition of the MERLIN satellite. Photo: Airbus Defence and Space

[Via Satellite 04-27-2015] Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded a contract to build a joint Earth observation satellite for the French space agency (CNES) and the German space agency (DLR) for the study of methane concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere. The Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission (MERLIN) satellite will be designed using the new AstroBus-S platform, which Airbus Defence and Space and CNES collaboratively produced as part of the French Investment for the Future Program.

The DLR previously selected Airbus Defence and Space to be the prime contractor for the MERLIN payload’s early development phases. The company’s employees based in Germany will design and build the Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) instrument, which will measure the reflection of lasers passing through the atmosphere to determine concentrations of methane, which, along with carbon dioxide, is a significant greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The company’s Toulouse, France facility is responsible for the satellite, its platform and its integration with the instrument.

MERLIN is the first institutional program based on the AstroBus-S platform, and the second order following the Peruvian Defence Ministry’s PeruSat 1 satellite, which is scheduled to launch in 2016 on an Arianespace Vega rocket.

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