Copernicus: Sentinel-5P (Precursor - Atmospheric Monitoring Mission)
Sentinel-5P (or S-5P, or S5P) is an approved LEO pre-operational mission within the European GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) program — a collaborative effort of ESA and NSO (Netherlands Space Office). The goal is to fill the gap between the current atmospheric monitoring instruments SCIAMACHY on ESA's Envisat satellite and OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) carried on NASA's Aura mission, as these instruments come to the end of their lifetimes, and the launch of the Sentinel-5 mission is planned for the timeframe 2020. Note: The Envisat mission operations ended on May 9, 2012. 1) 2) 3) 4)
Table 1: Copernicus is the new name of the former GMES program 5)
The missions Sentinel-5P (LEO), Sentinel-4 (GEO) and Sentinel-5 (LEO) will be devoted to atmospheric composition monitoring for the GMES Atmosphere Service (GAS). The objective of the Sentinel-5P mission is to provide data delivery (maintain the continuity of science data) for atmospheric services between 2015-2020. The successor Sentinel-5 payload is planned to be flown on a MetOp-SG (Second Generation) mission with a launch in 2020.
At the ESA ministerial Conference in 2008 in The Hague, The Netherlands, the Sentinel-5P mission was defined in the frame of the ESA GMES Space Component Program. This program answers to a joint initiative of the EC (European Commission) and ESA on GMES.
Figure 1: Sentinel-5P (SP5) is a gap-filler mission (image credit: Astrium) 6)
Table 2: Summary of the implementation scenarios of the Atmospheric Composition Sentinels 7)
Figure 2: Launch schedule of the Atmospheric Sentinels; the third Sentinel-5UVNS instrument is expected to be launched after 2030 (image credit: ESA)
Unlike the previous missions (Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3), the Sentinel-4 and -5 will be in the class of "hosted payload" missions embarked on meteorological satellites and will be dedicated to atmospheric composition monitoring for the Copernicus Atmospheric Service. The mission is a single payload satellite embarking TROPOMI (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument), a pushbroom instrument with four hyperspectral channels covering the spectrum from UV to SWIR. - On Dec. 8, 2011, ESA awarded a contract to Astrium Ltd. (Stevenage, UK) to act as prime contractor for the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite system. 8) 9)
The satellite uses the AstroBus-L 250 M platform of Astrium and thus draws on the heritage from the SEOSat/Ingenio program of Spain, developed under the control of ESA, and from SPOT-6 and -7, two commercial imaging missions currently under development with Astrium internal funding. Including an ongoing export contract with Kazakhstan using this platform, Sentinel-5p is the 5th mission in the series and can rely on a robust and proven platform design. 10) 11)
Figure 3: Artist's view of the Sentinel-5P spacecraft in orbit (image credit: ESA, Airbus DS) 12)
The mechanical platform consists of a hexagonal structure supporting the platform electrical units and the TROPOMI ICU (Instrument Control Unit), and interfacing to a standard launch vehicle interface ring.
In the baseline solution, the platform equipment is distributed over the opening side panels, thus allowing easy access during integration and in case of on-ground maintenance operations.
The platform electrical/functional allocation uses a well proven classical architecture which is currently implemented in several ESA missions as well as in national and export programs. This proven architecture allows re-use of electronic equipment from several suppliers.
The core of the platform electrical/functional architecture is the data handling housed in two physically separate units, the OBC (On-Board Computer) and the RIU (Remote Interface Unit). The OBC (LEON 3) provides the processing and housekeeping memory functions and is responsible for telemetry and telecommand (TM/TC) handling, on-board time management, system re-configuration and communication with "intelligent" platform and payload units – units which communicate via a data bus. The OBC also manages the interface with the S-band transponder, which provides the RF telemetry, telecommand and ranging link to and from the ground station.
The OBC communicates with other satellite units primarily via two independent, fully redundant MIL-STD-1553B buses. All input/output interfaces to "non-intelligent" units are managed by the RIU.
The spacecraft power conditioning functions are performed autonomously by the PCDU (Power Conditioning and Distribution Unit). For robustness, these functions are implemented without the use of software. A battery and solar array sized to satisfy the mission needs complete the power subsystem.
The thermal subsystem includes heaters that are needed to maintain the thermal environment of the platform. The thermal control loops are controlled by the CSW (Central Software) resident in the OBC.
A COTS (Commercial-off-the Shelf) monopropellant propulsion module is used for orbit maintenance, mounted in the center of the lower floor. The propulsion subsystem is a hydrazine design operating in blow-down mode with 4 x 1 N thrusters configured in two redundant pairs.
The top floor accommodates the instrument and its radiator, as well as the star trackers and the X-band and S-band communication antennas. The instrument is mounted in a canted position, such that its radiator has an unobstructed field of view.
The nominal operational scenario for the payload instrument will always be nadir-pointing in the instrument imaging mode. Measurement data is collected when the SZA (Sun-Zenith Angle) is < 92º. Sun calibration can be performed close to the northern polar region when the sun enters the FOV (Field-of-View) of the sun calibration ports. Further calibration can be performed throughout the remainder of the orbit.
The PDHT (Payload Data Handling and Transmission) subsystem consists of a PDHU (Payload Data Handling Unit) and a set of X-band transmission units. The PDHU stores and handles the data transmitted by high speed links from the instrument. PUS (Packet Utilization Standard) compliant data are sent to the transponders and transmitted to ground.
The spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized, the design provides an optional yaw steering.
Figure 4: Fold-out illustration of the AstroBus-L elements (image credit: ESA)
The main features of the FDIR (Failure Detection, Isolation and Recovery) concept are:
• A robust and qualified design coming from a high level of reuse of the standardized operations and FDIR concept already implemented in SEOSat/Ingenio
• A hierarchical architecture (from unit level to system level) where the goal is to try to recover the observed error on the lowest possible level to maximize the system availability for nominal operations.
This FDIR design guarantees:
• A high level of autonomy for the nominal mission with extended periods of time without ground intervention
• Satellite integrity in case of any failure leading to suspend the nominal mission
• Maximizes the satellite availability and autonomy while preserving a robust and failure tolerant system
• Safe operation of the satellite in case of any credible anomaly
• Geo-location performance within requirements even after a single failure: the 3 Star Tracker Optical Heads ensure that the geo-location requirements are still met with some margin after the loss of one optical head.
Figure 5: Illustration of the Sentinel-5P spacecraft (image credit: ESA, Airbus DS)
EPS (Electrical Power Subsystem): Three deployable solar arrays (5.4 m2) using GaAs triple-junction solar cells, supply 1500 W of average power. The two Li-ion batteries have a capacity of 156 Ah.
RF communications: The spacecraft will be equipped with S-band and X-band communication channels for uplink commanding and housekeeping telemetry downlink and for the downlink of instrument data, respectively. The X-band payload downlink rate is 310 Mbit/s. The onboard mass memory unit has a capacity of 430 Gbit using flash memory technology.
Project development status:
• On October 13, 2017, Europe's Sentinel-5P Earth observation mission will be lofted into space on a Russian rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome. About 93 minutes later, the satellite – having separated from the rocket and opened its solar panels – will transmit its first signals. The transmission will indicate that all has gone well with the launch and that the satellite is ready to receive instructions. 13)
- On Earth, engineers at the ground station in Kiruna, Sweden will be watching intently, with their 15 m diameter antenna pointing at the horizon, ready to catch Sentinel-5P's signal as it rises into the sky over the country. - The Kiruna station is part of ESA's global network, and it routinely supports multiple missions such as CryoSat, Integral, the Swarm trio and Sentinel.
Figure 6: Photo of the Kiruna station, located at Salmijärvi, 38 km east of Kiruna, in northern Sweden (image credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)
- At the same time, 2100 km to the south, the team at ESA's mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, will also be watching closely, because ‘acquisition of signal' will mark the moment they assume control, sending commands and downlinking data to check on the satellite's health and status.
• October 11, 2017: ESA's air-quality mission Sentinel-5P will sift through light from the atmosphere to accomplish its ambitious monitoring goals. The Agency's optics specialists helped to verify its main TROPOMI instrument would operate as planned. 14)
- Sentinel-5P is the first in a series of atmospheric chemistry missions from the European Commission's Copernicus program. It carries a single high-precision optical payload called the TROPOMI (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument), developed jointly by the Netherlands and ESA. - Its aim is to track gradual changes in the makeup of the atmosphere, providing continuity between past missions such as ESA's Envisat and NASA's Aura and Europe's future Sentinel-4 and -5.
Figure 7: Test grating: Straylight performance verification measurements of a test grating for Sentinel-5P's TROPOMI instrument, carried out in the ESTEC Optics Lab to ensure the delivery of quality measurements of Earth's atmosphere. These gratings are used to split light reflected from the atmosphere so that the spectral fingerprints of trace gases can be pinpointed (image credit: ESTEC Optics Laboratory/ESA)
- Orbiting at 824 km above our heads, Sentinel-5P will map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols – all of which affect the air we breathe and therefore our health, and our climate.
- The optimal performance of an optical instrument in space always comes down to the combination of its individual components – coatings, filters, lenses and mirrors – in the optical chain. So back during TROPOMI's development phase, ESA's Optics Laboratory tested a number of key instrument elements.
Figure 8: ESTEC optics laboratory angular resolved straylight measurement facility (image credit: ESA, S. Muirhead)
- TROPOMI works by comparing reflected light from Earth's atmosphere with direct sunlight at various wavelengths, from infrared to ultraviolet. It uses diffraction gratings to split this light, allowing it to sift out the spectral fingerprints of its target trace gases.
- The optimal performance of an optical instrument in space always comes down to the combination of its individual components – coatings, filters, lenses and mirrors – in the optical chain. So back during TROPOMI's development phase, ESA's Optics Laboratory tested a number of key instrument elements.
- One of a suite of technical labs at ESA's technical heart in the Netherlands, the Optics Lab focused on verifying controlling unwanted ‘stray light' that might leak from the diffraction gratings. Too much stray light might make trace gas detection impossible. They performed precision measurements of prototype TROPOMI gratings to ensure any stray light remained within permissible bounds.
Figure 9: Sentinel-5P infographic: Mapping the global atmosphere every day, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite provides high-resolution data on a multitude of trace gases and information on aerosols that affect air quality and climate (image credit: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)
• October 4, 2017: As preparations for the launch of Sentinel-5P continue on track, the team at Russia's Plesetsk site has bid farewell to the satellite as it was sealed from view in the Rockot fairing. 15)
• Sept. 25, 2017: Engineers have been at Russia's Plesetsk launch site for a month now, ticking off the jobs on the ‘to do' list so that the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite is fit and ready for liftoff on 13 October. With the satellite now fuelled, the team has passed another milestone. 16)
• Sept. 4, 2017: The Sentinel-5P satellite has arrived in Plesetsk in northern Russia to be prepared for liftoff on 13 October. Built to deliver global maps of air pollutants every day and in more detail than ever before, this latest Copernicus mission will set a new standard for monitoring air quality. 17)
- Sentinel-5P is the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It follows five other Sentinel satellites already in orbit and delivering a wealth of information about our planet.
Figure 10: Photo of the Sentinel-5P spacecraft arrival in Plesetsk (image credit: ESA)
• August 30, 2017: Today, Sentinel-5P was loaded on the Antonov aircraft that will take this latest Copernicus satellite to Russia to be prepared for liftoff in October. 18)
- Sentinel-5P carries the state-of-the-art TROPOMI instrument to map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols – all of which affect the air we breathe, our health, and our climate. With a swath width of 2600 km, it will map the entire planet every day. Information from this new mission will be used through the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service for air-quality forecasts and for decision-making.
Figure 11: Inside the cavernous Antonov (image credit: ESA)
• June 22, 2017: The Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor (Sentinel-5P) mission is dedicated to monitoring the composition of the atmosphere. Its data will be used largely by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. The mission will deliver information to monitor air quality, stratospheric ozone and will also be used for climate variables monitoring, and support European policy-making. 19)
- The Sentinel-5P mission will be the first of a series of atmospheric chemistry missions to be launched within the European Commission's Copernicus program. With the current launch window of September 2017 and a nominal lifetime of seven years, Sentinel-5P is expected to provide continuity in the availability of global atmospheric data products between its predecessor missions, SCIAMACHY (Envisat) and OMI (Aura), and the future Sentinel-4 and -5 missions.
Figure 12: Sentinel-5P Astrobus Platform Elements: The various elements that comprise the Sentinel-5P satellite, including the single payload instrument TROPOMI (image credit: ESA)
- Sentinel-5P products will be used by Copernicus Services, namely the Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) or the Climate Change Service (C3S). These services will transform its data into high value information (for instance, forecasts of air pollution over Europe) that can be used by decision-makers to take appropriate actions on environmental policies, from which the well-being and security of EC citizens and future generations depend.
Figure 13: European-scale air quality forecast of ozone: The CAMS (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service) provides European-scale air quality forecasts for every hour, up to 4 days in advance, supplied by the EURAD model. The maps provided are representative for large scale phenomena, and they cannot reproduce local aspects of air pollution (image credit: CAMS)
• Feb. 6, 2016: The launch service for ESA's Sentinel-5p satellite on the Rockot launch vehicle reached an important project milestone during this week. In the frame of the satellite's test campaign at the facilities of Intespace, Toulouse, Sentinel-5P has been mated for the first time on its dedicated launch vehicle adapter. This adapter system will attach the spacecraft to the Rockot carrier during its travel into space and will eventually release the satellite into the target orbit. 20)
- The mating exercise, the so-called fit-check, aimed at verifying the mechanical and electrical interfaces between the Sentinel-5p satellite, built by Airbus DS in Stevenage, and the launcher hardware, manufactured by the rocketry company Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center. The purpose of a fit-check is ensuring a successful integration of the spacecraft onto Rockot at the launch complex and a check of the umbilical connections between the launcher and its payload. For the Sentinel-5P mission, the fit-check was further used to verify a customized purging system which was integrated into the adapter allowing the satellite customer to flush its contamination-sensitive instrument through the satellite-launcher interface during ground operations.
Figure 14: Sentinel-5P being lowered on the Rockot adapter ..... (image credit: Eurockot)
- The actual attachment of the Sentinel-5P satellite to its launch adapter is by means of a clamp band mechanism developed by Airbus Defence and Space in Madrid (formerly CASA Espacio). The clamp band is applied with high tension along the spacecraft-launch vehicle interface. The release of the satellite in space is achieved by firing pyro charges, which spontaneously open the clamp and hence allow separation. As the flawless functioning of the release is essential for a launch success, it was tested following the mating under recording the induced shock loads levels.
- Fit-check and release shock test have been conducted successfully on February 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in a remarkable team effort by Airbus Defence & Space, the Khrunichev Space Center, European Space Agency and Eurockot.
Figure 15: and mated with the Rockot launch vehicle adapter .... (image credit: Eurockot)
Figure 16: and separated again ..... (image credit: Eurockot)
• July 24, 2015: The Sentinel-5 Precursor platform and the TROPOMI instrument have been integrated together to form the satellite which will be leaving the UK for testing. Airbus DS will deliver the spacecraft to Intespace in Toulouse, France, for final system level testing. 21)
Launch: The Sentinel-5P spacecraft was launched on October 13, 2017 (09:27 GMT) on an Eurockot Rockot/Briz-KM vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The Sentinel-5P spacecraft has a launch mass of ~ 820 kg. The first stage separated 2 min 16 sec after liftoff, followed by the fairing and second stage at 3 min 3 sec and 5 min 19 sec, respectively. The upper stage then fired twice, delivering Sentinel-5P to its final orbit 79 min after liftoff. 22) 23) 24) 25)
Orbit: Sun-synchronous orbit, altitude = 824 km, inclination = 98.74º, LTAN (Local Time on Ascending Node) = 13.35 hours, period = 101 minutes, the repeat cycle is 17 days (227 orbits).
A unique feature of the Sentinel-5P mission lies in the synergistic exploitation of simultaneous measurements of imager data from the VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager and Radiometer Suite), embarked on the Suomi NPP (NPOESS Preparatory Project) satellite of NASA/NOAA. NASA launched the NPP mission on October 28, 2011. The Sentinel-5P orbit is selected such that it trails behind Suomi NPP by 5 min in LTAN, allowing the Sentinel-5P observation swath to remain within the scene observed by Suomi NPP.
Operational system/service allocations:
• The Sentinel-5P satellite consists of the platform and the TROPOMI payload, the latter is supplied as CFI (Customer Furnished Item) to the spacecraft prime.
• The LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) ground station network will be used to control spacecraft after launch.
• Svalbard polar Earth station for spacecraft operations and data downlinking.
• The FOS (Flight Operations Segment) function will be performed by ESA/ESOC.
• The PDGS (Payload Data Ground Segment) function will be performed by DLR/EOC (Earth Observation Center), under contract to Astrium Ltd. This involves the development of PDGS to host the missions' ground processors and to distribute the resulting data to the user community.
Table 3: Overview of some mission parameters
Figure 17: Sentinel-5P team set-up (image credit: Astrium)
• December 5, 2018: Measurements of atmospheric ozone from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite are now being used in daily forecasts of air quality. 26)
- Launched in October 2017, Copernicus Sentinel-5P (Sentinel-5 Precursor) is the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring Earth's atmosphere. It is part of the fleet of Copernicus Sentinel missions that ESA develops for the European Union's environmental monitoring program.
Figure 18: Measurements of atmospheric ozone from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite are now being used in daily forecasts of air quality. High up in the stratosphere, ozone is important because it protects life on Earth from the Sun's harmful rays of ultraviolet radiation. In the 1970s and 1980s, the widespread use of damaging chlorofluorocarbons in products such as refrigerators and aerosol tins damaged ozone high up in our atmosphere. This depletion led to a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica. While the ozone layer may be healthier than it was, it is critical that it continues to be carefully monitored – not just to look back at its history, but also to see how it changes in the future. The Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission is set to play an important role in monitoring ozone. Using data from the mission, this animation show changes in ozone over Antarctica between 1 November and 20 November 2018 (image credit: the video contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by DLR/BIRA)
- The satellite carries an advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer called TROPOMI. It detects the unique fingerprints of atmospheric gases in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum to image a wide range of pollutants more accurately and at a higher spatial resolution than ever before.
- And, sooner than expected, the CAMS (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service), which is implemented by the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) on behalf of the European Union, is now including near-realtime Sentinel-5P ozone data in their daily analysis and forecast system.
Figure 19: Ozone cross section. One added value of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service ozone products compared to satellite total column retrievals is that CAMS provides 3D global fields. This allows structures like the Antarctic ozone hole to be viewed in a different way. This animation shows a cross section of the ozone layer (in partial pressure) over the South Pole from 1 July to 25 November 2018 and illustrates the development and recovery of the ozone hole (image credit: Processed by CAMS/ECMWF)
- High up in the stratosphere, ozone is important because it protects life on Earth from the Sun's harmful rays of ultraviolet radiation. But lower down in the atmosphere, ozone is an air pollutant – the main ingredient of urban smog. It can cause breathing difficulties and also damage vegetation.
- Before CAMS took the decision to start including the new Copernicus Sentinel-5P ozone data in their forecast system, the data had to be monitored and tested very carefully.
- Since the data first became available in July, CAMS has been using them in research experiments parallel to their operational system. This allowed any teething problems to be solved.
- Deemed good, the data were then included passively into the operational system so that differences between the forecast model and actual observations could be calculated.
Figure 20: Ozone hole in motion: The reduction of ozone concentrations in the stratosphere and the formation of the ozone hole each year are caused by complex meteorological and chemical processes. Changes in the ozone between 7 July and 22 November 2018 are displayed here as a 3D rendered animation (image credit: processed by CAMS/ECMWF)
- CAMS senior scientist, Antje Inness, explained, "First, a lot of technical work is needed to include new data in the processing chain at ECMWF. "Then the scientific work starts. We monitor the data passively and work with the team at the German Aerospace Center, DLR, to solve any problems. Finally, the assimilation of the data can begin, and the data now influence the CAMS forecasts."
- Head of the service, Vincent-Henri Peuch, added, "Soon after Copernicus Sentinel-5P was launched in late 2017 we started monitoring the total column near-realtime ozone data in research experiments, and since July in our operational system. This has shown that the data are good quality and we are now starting to use them actively in our system."
- ESA's mission manager for Copernicus Sentinel-5P, Claus Zehner, noted, "The uptake of these first data products into CAMS is a really important milestone – we couldn't be happier."
- CAMS is also routinely monitoring the mission's nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide data, which also look promising for uptake in the near future.
- The Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission not only offers unprecedented accuracy, but also its 2600 km-wide swath allows the entire planet to be mapped every 24 hours.
- All of the mission's measurements of atmospheric gases and aerosols are ‘column data', which means they cover the full depth of the atmosphere.
• November 21, 2018: Camp Fire in northern California, US, has, without doubt, been one of the state's most destructive. This animation uses data from different Copernicus Sentinels to show the spread of aerosols and smoke. 27)
- Over the last two weeks Camp Fire (shown here) and the Woolsey Fire in the south have burned thousands of hectares of land and reduced thousands of homes to ashes, and sadly claimed many lives. And with over 800 residents of Paradise and surroundings still missing, the death toll is likely to rise.
Figure 21: California's Camp Fire has been one of the state's most destructive. This animation uses data from different Copernicus Sentinels to show the spread of aerosols and smoke (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA)
- This animation uses data acquired between 8 and 11 November 2018 by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission to show how aerosols from Camp Fire spread in the atmosphere. The mission is dedicated to mapping a multitude of trace gases and aerosols that affect air quality. The animation also includes measurements from 11 November made by two instruments carried on the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites. One is from the ocean land color instrument, which clearly shows smoke billowing from the fire, and the other is from the optical channels of its sea and land surface temperature radiometer, which shows the flames.
- Having information acquired at the same time from different satellites and instruments helps monitor devastating events such as this.
• October 24, 2018: With air quality a serious environmental health problem, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite is tasked with mapping air pollutants around the entire globe every day. This new mission has been providing data on carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone since July and now other polluting nasties such as sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde have joined the list of data products available to monitor the air we breathe. 28)
Figure 22: Measurements gathered by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission between January and August 2018 have been averaged to reveal formaldehyde in the atmosphere. This map is based on ‘vertical column' concentrations. This air pollutant is released into the atmosphere from forest fires and wood processing, for example. It is an important intermediate gas in the oxidation of methane and other hydrocarbons. While it is short-lived in the atmosphere, it reacts chemically to become a major source of carbon monoxide – another harmful pollutant (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus data (2018), processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR)
- Air pollution affects people in developed and developing countries alike. In Europe alone, it is estimated that every year 400 000 people die prematurely because of poor air quality.
- Satellite data and computer models are the only real way of showing how pollution accumulates around the world as a whole. In the immediate term, these tools are essential for forecasts and warnings on air quality. In the longer term they are indispensable for providing accurate information for decision-makers developing strategies to tackle this major problem.
Figure 23: Based on measurements gathered by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission between November 2017 and July 2018, the map shows high concentrations of sulphur dioxide over the Persian Gulf and India. Sulphur dioxide, which mainly comes from industrial processes and motor vehicle emissions, can result in breathing problems and is a precursor to acid rain (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus data (2018), processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR)
- Launched in October 2017, Copernicus Sentinel-5P – short for Sentinel-5 Precursor – is the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It is part of the fleet of Copernicus Sentinel missions that ESA develops for the European Union's environmental monitoring program.
- The satellite carries an advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer called TROPOMI. What sets TROPOMI apart is that it detects the unique fingerprints of atmospheric gases in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum to image a wide range of pollutants more accurately and at a higher spatial resolution than ever before.
- Since this state-of-the art satellite mission was launched, scientists have been carefully evaluating its data and, in turn, releasing the data to users.
- Streams of data on carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, along with information on aerosols and clouds have been available since July. On 17 October, sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde joined the list of air pollutants routinely available for services such as air-quality forecasting and volcanic ash monitoring. - The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service is a key user of these data products.
- Head of the service, Vincent-Henri Peuch, said, "Even looking at social media, we see that Copernicus Sentinel-5P is proving to be a great ambassador for environmental monitoring and for taking action on air pollution. But the mission does much more than give us images.
- "This is a sophisticated mission designed to measure the comprehensive set of atmospheric constituents for underpinning several of the CAMS information products. We are already using observations of ozone and nitrogen dioxide, which have been available routinely since July.
Figure 24: Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite measured sulphur dioxide in the plume spewing from the Fuego volcano in Guatemala. The volcano suddenly erupted on 3 June 2018, its most powerful eruption since 1974. Launched in October 2017, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite carries the state-of-the-art TROPOMI instrument to map a multitude of trace gases and aerosols. Volcanic plumes are of particular concern to the airline industry and the unprecedented level of detail offered by the mission allows Volcanic Ash Advisory Center users to better track and forecast the dispersion of volcanic plumes (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus data (2018), processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR)
- "We are really excited about using these new sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde data in our operational services. Copernicus Sentinel-5P data is also about to make its way into everyone's pockets as our products are being taken up by leading smartphone applications to inform the public on current air quality."
- Sulphur dioxide affects air quality badly and can lead to breathing problems. While it is released into the atmosphere mainly through industrial processes, it is also present in volcanic plumes. — Monitoring the spread of volcanic plumes is critical for aircraft safety.
- Nicolas Theys from the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy said, "Copernicus Sentinel-5P's near-realtime data on sulphur dioxide and aerosols are being used in the Support to Aviation Control Service and in the European Natural Disaster Coordination Information System for Aviation. -The unprecedented level of details offered by the mission allows Volcanic Ash Advisory Center users to better track and forecast the dispersion of volcanic plumes."
- The latest data release also includes formaldehyde, which tends to enter the atmosphere from forest fires and wood processing, for example. It is an important intermediate gas in the oxidation of methane and other hydrocarbons. While it is short-lived in the atmosphere, it reacts chemically to become a major source of carbon monoxide – another harmful pollutant.
Figure 25: Using measurements from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, the animation shows changes in the ozone hole over Antarctica between September and October 2018 (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus data (2018), processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR)
- Improved total ozone columns are now also available to enable long-term ozone monitoring from space.
- Each of the Copernicus Sentinel missions carries state-of-the-art technology to deliver a stream of complementary imagery to help manage the environment effectively and respond to global change. The European Commission leads the Copernicus program. ESA is responsible for the space component, which includes the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellite missions. Data are used worldwide and are free of charge.
- Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA's Earth Observation Programs, underlined, "The Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission is a prime example of how Europe works together for the benefit of its citizens. The European Commission as leader of the Copernicus program, ESA as the coordinator, developer and operator of the space component are, together with the respective Member States, the prime drivers of Copernicus. In the case of Sentinel-5P, the TROPOMI instrument provided by The Netherlands highlights the tight cooperation across Europe. Copernicus is indeed a success story for Europe in space."
• September 14, 2018: For more than 20 years, changes in ozone over Antarctica have been carefully monitored by a succession of European satellites. This important long-term record is now being added to by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission, which is dedicated to atmospheric monitoring. 29)
- Protecting life on Earth from the Sun's harmful rays of ultraviolet radiation, the ozone layer is a very important, yet fragile, part of Earth's atmosphere.
Figure 26: The animation shows measurements of ozone for 1–13 September 2018 over Antarctica from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, showing the ozone hole over the South Pole. Sentinel-5P measurements are now being included in ESA's Climate Change Initiative to extend existing ozone records. Prior to Sentinel-5P, ozone measurements came from instruments carried on satellites such as ERS-2 and Envisat. The record goes back more than 20 years (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by DLR/BIRA)
- Launched in October 2017, Sentinel-5P is the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. The satellite carries the state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument to map a multitude of trace gases that affect the air we breathe and our climate. As well as measuring ozone, this new mission also measures gases such as nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, and aerosols.
- The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is marked every year on 16 September.
- While the ozone layer may be healthier than it was, it is critical that it continues to be carefully monitored – not just to look back at its history, but also to see how it changes in the future.
- ESA has been involved in monitoring ozone for many years. Satellites such as ERS-2 and Envisat carried instruments that measured ozone.
- These data, along with measurements from EUMETSAT's MetOp and NASA's EOS–AURA missions, span more than two decades and are used by ESA's Climate Change Initiative to create long-term records.
- Now, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite is adding to this vital record. As well as measuring ozone, this new mission also measures gases such as nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, and aerosols.
• July 11, 2018: Following months of tests and careful evaluation, the first data on air pollutants from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite have been released. These first maps show a range of trace gases that affect air quality such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. 30)
Figure 27: Following months of tests and careful evaluation, the first data on air pollutants from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite have been released. These first maps show a range of trace gases that affect air quality such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone (image credit: ESA)
- Launched on 13 October 2017, Sentinel-5P is the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It is part of the fleet of Sentinel missions that ESA develops for the European Union's environmental monitoring Copernicus program managed by the European Commission.
- Philippe Brunet, Director of Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence at the European Commission, welcomed the release and accuracy of the new data, which has shone a light on air pollution on a global scale. "These first data are another milestone for our Copernicus program. They show how Sentinel-5P is set to make a real difference in monitoring air quality and highlight European Union's contribution to combatting the global issue of air pollution."
- As poor air quality continues to prematurely claim the lives of millions of people every year, it is more important than ever that we find better and more accurate ways of monitoring the air we breathe.
- Thanks to its Tropomi instrument – the most advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer to date – Sentinel-5P can zoom down to the surface of Earth and deliver highly detailed and accurate data about the atmosphere. - With a resolution of up to 7 x 3.5 km, it can even detect air pollution over individual cities.
Figure 28: Sentinel-5P tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) measurements over Europe, Africa, Middle East, and India from April 2018 (averaged) are shown here. Air pollution emitted by big cities and shipping lanes is clearly visible. Launched in October 2017, Sentinel-5P is part of a fleet of satellites central to Copernicus, Europe's environmental monitoring program. With a resolution of up to 7 x 3.5 km, Sentinel-5P's Tropomi instrument can detect air pollution over individual cities. Tropomi also has the capacity to locate where pollutants are being emitted, effectively identifying pollution hotspots (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by KNMI)
• On 3 June 2018, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite measured sulphur dioxide in the plume spewing from the Fuego volcano in Guatemala. The eruption has already claimed 25 lives and injured several hundred. It is reported to be Guatemala's deadliest such event since 1902 when the Santa Maria volcano erupted and killed thousands of people. The Fuego volcano, which is less than 40 km southwest of the capital Guatemala City, also erupted in February this year and sent ash almost 2 km high. Yesterday's event was much bigger with ash reaching 6 km high and hot rock and gas engulfing nearby villages. 31)
- Launched in October 2017, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P data products are still being validated before their release to the public. However, this image (Figure 29) clearly shows high amount of sulphur dioxide being ejected into the atmosphere. The satellite carries the state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument to map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols – all of which affect the air we breathe and therefore our health, and our climate.
Figure 29: The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has measured sulphur dioxide in the plume spewing from the Fuego volcano in Guatemala (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by DLR/BIRA)
• December 15, 2017: The new Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite captured the presence of elevated absorbing aerosols – caused by fires – in the atmosphere off the west coast of the US on 12 December 2017. 32)
- While hundreds of firefighters battle the fires, more than 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the 2017 California wildfire season is the worst on record.
Figure 30: The Sentinel-5P satellite is still in its commissioning phase, so its Tropomi instrument is not yet fully calibrated, but images like these, acquired on 12 Dec., give us a preview of the data to come from the atmosphere-monitoring mission for Europe's Copernicus program (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by KNMI)
• December 1, 2017: Launched on 13 October, the Sentinel-5P satellite has delivered its first images of air pollution. Even though the satellite is still being prepared for service, these first results have been hailed as exceptional and show how this latest Copernicus satellite is set to take the task of monitoring air quality into a new era. 33) 34) 35)
- This new mission promises to image air pollutants in more detail than ever before. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite's instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus.
- One of these first images shows nitrogen dioxide over Europe. Caused largely by traffic and the combustion of fossil fuel in industrial processes, the high concentrations of this air pollutant can be seen over parts of the Netherlands, the Ruhr area in western Germany, the Po Valley in Italy and over parts of Spain (Figure 31).
Figure 31: One of the first images from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission shows nitrogen dioxide over Europe on 22 November 2017. It shows high emissions over the Po Valley in northern Italy and over western Germany. Nitrogen dioxide pollutes the air mainly as a result of industrial fossil fuel combustion and road traffic. Capturing a large part of Europe, this image also demonstrates Tropomi's swath width of 2600 km (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by KNMI/ESA)
- Some of the first data have been used to create a global map of carbon monoxide. The animation shows high levels of this air pollutant over parts of Asia, Africa and South America. Sentinel-5P also reveals high levels of pollution from power plants in India.
- Josef Aschbacher, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programs, said, "Sentinel-5P is the sixth satellite for the EC Copernicus environmental monitoring program but the first dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. These first images offer a tantalizing glimpse of what's in store and are not only an important milestone for the Sentinel-5P mission, but also an important milestone for Europe. Data such as we see here will soon underpin the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, and will be used to issue forecasts, and will ultimately be valuable for helping to put appropriate mitigation policies in place."
Figure 32: Launched on 13 October, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite has been used to map atmospheric carbon monoxide around the globe. The image shows high levels of this air pollutant over parts of Asia, Africa and South America. The mission has a swath width of 2600 km, which allows the whole planet to be mapped every 24 hours (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by SRON/ESA) 36)
Figure 33: The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite imaged sulphur dioxide from the Mount Agung volcanic eruption on Bali, Indonesia, on 27 November 2017. As well as detecting different air pollutants, the mission also measures aerosols, as this image shows (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA/DLR)
- Sentinel-5P carries the most advanced sensor of its type to date: Tropomi. This state-of-the-art instrument can map pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols, all of which affect the air we breathe and our climate. After the satellite was launched, Tropomi went through a planned decontamination process. The door that kept it sealed during this time was opened recently, allowing light to enter and the first images to be taken.
Figure 34: Ozone from Sentinel-5P: One of the first images from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission shows how ozone is distributed around the world. While ozone in the stratosphere is a good thing, protecting us from the Sun's ultraviolet radiation, lower down in the atmosphere it is a harmful pollutant. Ground level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight (image credit: ESA, the image contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by DLR/ESA) 37)
- These first results were revealed at the DLR German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, where Sentinel-5P's data are processed.
- Stefan Dech, Director of DLR's Earth Observation Center, said, "These first images are astonishing, especially given the satellite is still in the early stages of being commissioned for operations. The Tropomi instrument promised to offer images of pollutants in higher resolution than ever before, and it's certainly living up to its promise."
• November 30, 2017: The first images from Sentinel-5P will be revealed on 1 December 2017. Although it will be a few months before the satellite is ready for service, these first results are expected to show just how this new Copernicus mission is set to be a game changer for monitoring air quality. 38)
- With air pollution putting the health of millions of people at risk, it is important to understand exactly what is in the air so that accurate forecasts can be issued, and, ultimately, appropriate mitigation policies be put in place.
- While the notion of an inventory might sound a tad boring, air pollution emission inventories are fundamental to implementing new environmental directives. But as important as these inventories are, they do not currently include satellite data.
- The problem is that today's satellites do not provide measurements in high enough spatial resolution to be useful for emission inventories – but the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission is about to change this.
Figure 35: A 10-year average of sulphur dioxide concentrations over Europe based on data from the OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) on NASA's Aura satellite. While Western Europe appears relatively free from this air pollutant, there are emissions clearly visible over Eastern Europe from power plants. The map also shows emissions of sulphur dioxide over Sicily, Italy, which was down to volcanic eruptions from Mount Etna. (Concentrations below 0.1 DU are not plotted), image credit: KNMI) 39)
- Launched on 13 October, the Sentinel-5P satellite carries the most advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer to date: TROPOMI. What sets TROPOMI apart from other satellite sensors is that it measures trace gases in much higher spatial resolution, than, say, the OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) on NASA's Aura satellite – which Europe relies on mostly for information on air pollutants.
- Ronald van der A from KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) said, "Our estimates of pollutants are often limited by the current resolution of satellite measurements. - We are looking forward to using Sentinel-5P's TROPOMI because it will make it much easier to distinguish between different sources of pollutants."
Figure 36: TROPOMI – the most advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer to date – was developed jointly by ESA and the Netherlands Space Office. It observes sunlight that is scattered back to space by Earth's surface and atmosphere, detecting the unique fingerprints of gases in different parts of the spectrum. What sets TROPOMI apart is that it measures in the ultraviolet and visible (270–500 nm), near-infrared (675–775 nm) and shortwave infrared (2305–2385 nm) spectral bands. This means that a wide range of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide can be imaged more accurately than ever before (image credit: ESA) 40)
- Measuring from the ultraviolet to the shortwave infrared, TROPOMI can detect the unique fingerprints of numerous polluting gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide. And, being able to image with a resolution as high as 7 x 3.5 km, the mission can measure pollution emitted by individual cities or parts of a city.
- This is key because the information currently used in emission inventories is currently compiled largely from statistical information on industrial sites, population density and traffic, for example. - These inventories tend to be updated only every few years and they are subject to national reporting, which can vary from country to country.
- Even given the present constraints, organizations such as the European Environment Agency work hard to generate comprehensive inventories but it is anticipated that Sentinel-5P will be a huge boost for these inventories.
- Claus Zehner, ESA's Sentinel-5P mission manager, said, "We really are at a very important juncture for air-quality monitoring. This astonishing new satellite mission will measure air pollutants like never before from space. In the near future, measurements from this novel mission can be certainly used to complement and improve classic air-quality emission inventory calculations."
• October 31, 2017: Now that Sentinel-5P is safely in orbit, engineers have started commissioning the satellite for the task of delivering extremely high-quality information on air quality. Meanwhile, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is poised to ensure we all reap the benefits from this latest mission. 41)
- Launched from Russia on 13 October 2017, this Copernicus satellite is in excellent health and is being maneuvered gently into its operational orbit.
- As planned, the satellite's Tropomi instrument is in the process of being decontaminated. This will take another couple of weeks and then it will be carefully fine-tuned for service.
- Sentinel-5P was designed to provide a primary source of data for CAMS (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service), which is at the ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) in the UK, and it is their job to ensure that the mission ultimately benefits Europe's citizens.
- Philippe Brunet, EC Director of Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence, said, "The EC is strongly committed to monitoring global air quality. Sentinel-5P will provide loads of information about the air we breathe, which means that Europe will be better equipped to address the challenges affecting citizens in their daily lives. "And, as with all data provided by the Copernicus Program, data from Sentinel-5P are free and open to anyone in the world, so the benefits are expected to extend way beyond Europe Union's borders."
- With new software written that allows Sentinel-5P's stream of data to fit into their current forecasting system, CAMS is ready to test and compare these new observations with forecast models. This is essential to make sure that the new data are not biased or flawed. Importantly, their findings will also contribute to the overall effort to validate the mission.
- Assuming this all goes well, Sentinel-5P, which offers data with better accuracy and at higher resolution than ever before, will underpin the ‘products' CAMS produces when the mission goes into service.
- Since Sentinel-5P delivers information on aerosols and harmful gases such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, CAMS' products include those that feed into daily European air-quality forecasts.
- There are also a number of downstream users that range from national environmental agencies to small- and medium-sized enterprises that develop innovative applications related to air quality and renewable energy.
- CAMS also contributes to explaining particular events such as the recent dust plume of Saharan dust and ashes from fires in Portugal and Spain that was carried to France and UK by Storm Ophelia, which led to yellow skies.
- Deputy Head of CAMS, Richard Engelen, said, "The observations we will get from Sentinel-5P are pivotal for CAMS operations at ECMWF. The mission will provide vast amounts of high-quality data for our global forecasts of atmospheric composition. "Sentinel-5P ensures we will have observations for years to come and that users get a continuous and reliable service."
- Vincent-Henri Peuch, Head of CAMS, added "While anyone can access the data, they are complex and have to be processed – CAMS does the job for you! It's similar to weather forecasts; you don't need to be a meteorologist to benefit from complex numerical models. "Through the CAMS service chain, high-quality information about air quality, pollen allergies, UV or solar renewable energy is made available through websites, smartphone apps and other communication channels so that everyone can reap the benefits of this wonderful new satellite mission."
- Josef Aschbacher, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programs, noted, "With six Sentinel satellites in orbit observing our environment, the Copernicus program is living up to its ‘Europe's eyes on Earth' claim. "We have been getting exceptional data about our land, oceans and ice from the Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 missions. And soon, Sentinel-5P, once in operation, will shed new light on the atmosphere giving us detailed information about something that affects us all – the quality of the air we breathe."
Figure 37: Nitrogen dioxide forecast: Using data from a number of satellites, the map shows a forecast for concentrations of nitrogen dioxide for 17 June 2017. Nitrogen dioxide pollutes the air mainly as a result of road traffic and other fossil fuel combustion. Breathing air polluted with nitrogen dioxide contributes to respiratory problems. Mapping the entire planet every day and delivering measurements with a resolution as high as 7 km x 3.5 km, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission will improve the quality of maps such as these and therefore improve air-quality forecasts (image credit: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service) 42)
• October 16, 2017: Launched last week, Europe's Sentinel-5P satellite – the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring the air we breathe – is in excellent health. 43)
- Contact meant that engineers at ESA's mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, could assume control of the satellite, and begin working around the clock to check its condition and start setting it up it for routine flight.
- The satellite is on solar power, its navigation and communication systems are operating as expected and it is fully functional after its raucous ride into space.
• October 13, 2017: After separating from the upper stage, Sentinel-5P deployed its three solar panels and began communications with Earth. The first signal was received 93 min after launch as the satellite passed over the Kiruna station in Sweden (Ref. 22).
- Telemetry links, command and control were then established by controllers at ESA's operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, allowing them to monitor the health of the satellite.
- The launch and the early orbit phase will last three days, during which controllers will check the satellite's key systems and configure it for flight in space.
- Following this, a commissioning phase will check all elements of the satellite's systems and the main instrument will be decontaminated. Once completed after a few weeks, the cooler door will be opened and the calibration and validation of Sentinel-5P's main TROPOMI instrument will be performed.
- The mission is expected to begin full operations six months from now.
Figure 38: Sentinel-5 Precursor is the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. With air pollution a major concern, the satellite carries the state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument to map a multitude of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols – all of which affect the air we breathe and therefore our health, and our climate (image credit: ESA/ATG medialab) 44)
Sensor complement: (TROPOMI)
The Sentinel-5P mission is an atmospheric chemistry mission, providing measurements at high temporal and spatial resolution. Its payload, the TROPOMI (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument), is being supplied as a national contribution to the GMES program by the Netherlands. The TROPOMI instrument design is of SCIAMACHY and OMI heritage; Dutch institutions provided major contributions in the development of these instruments.
OMI was launched in 2004 on NASA's Aura spacecraft and SCIAMACHY in 2002 on ESA's Envisat mission. Both instruments are very successful. Since OMI started observing the atmosphere, its service has never been interrupted. SCIAMACHY, OMI and TROPOMI are passive sun backscatter spectrographs using the ultraviolet-to-SWIR wavelengths. SCIAMACHY uses a scanning concept and linear detector arrays, and covers almost the entire Solar irradiance spectrum from 240 to 2400 nm. OMI is scaled down in terms of wavelength range (270 –500 nm) but uses a staring pushbroom concept. This concept measures all ground pixels in the swath simultaneously and therefore allows a much improved spatial resolution. 45) 46) 47)
TROPOMI takes the best of the two by combining the large wavelength range of SCIAMACHY (albeit with some gaps) and with OMI's staring concept. The full advantage of staring concept is taken by reducing the ground pixel size to 7 x 7 km2 and on top of that making the instrument suitable for very dark scenes (albedo 2 – 5 %). This means that the instrument etendue is improved by more than an order of magnitude. This allows for unprecedented observations of sources and sinks of air quality, and climate related gases and aerosols. The spatial resolution results in a high fraction of cloud-free observations and is combined with a wide swath of 104° (about 2600 km on ground) to allow daily coverage of the complete Earth with sub-city resolution, as illustrated by Figure 39.
The basic TROPOMI applications are:
• Monitoring changes in the atmospheric composition (e.g. ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), formaldehyde (CH2O), and the properties of aerosols and clouds at high temporal (daily) resolution.
• Troposphere variability.
Figure 40: TROPOMI system breakdown and unit suppliers (image credit: Dutch Space)
TROPOMI (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument):
TROPOMI is an advanced nadir-viewing imaging absorption spectrometer, a DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometer) instrument, to provide data on atmospheric trace gases and aerosols impacting air quality and climate. The instrument is being co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and ESA. ESA signed an agreement with the Netherlands in July 2009; the instrument development is led by Dutch Space, Leiden, The Netherlands, as prime contractor (Ref. 1). 48) 49)
TROPOMI is a collaboration between KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute), SRON (Space Research Organization Netherlands), TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), and Dutch Space, on behalf of NSO (Netherlands Space Office). KNMI (PI) and SRON (co-PI) are responsible for the scientific management and the data products of the project. Dutch Space is the principal contractor for the construction of the instrument. The TROPOMI development is jointly funded by NSO and ESA; both agencies cover the programmatic aspects of TROPOMI. 50) 51) 52)
NSO responsibility is the development, procurement, calibration, in-orbit commissioning of TROPOMI, and the generation of Level-1B data. ESA is responsible of the procurement of the satellite, the ground segment, the launch and in-orbit commissioning. The implementation of the Sentinel-5P mission is performed by a ESA/NSO Joint Project Team (JPT).
The instrument development passed its Instrument-PDR review (IPDR) in May 2011. The IPDR was conducted as a top down review and subsystem PDRs followed in the remainder of 2011. 53)
In May 2014, the TROPOMI instrument for ESA's Sentinel 5-precursor satellite, is in its final stages of integration now and many hardware results are becoming available. This concerns at this moment the SWIR, UVIS and NIR spectrometers and all flight detectors and soon the remaining UV spectrometer. 54)
TROPOMI is the most recent in a series of UV-VIS-NIR-SWIR sun backscatter hyper spectral instruments that measure the atmospheric composition. These instruments measure with or without polarization the combination of Earth and sun spectra. From their ratio, the reflectance spectra, absorptions taking place in the Earth atmosphere are derived. Concentrations of trace gases can be determined because these gases have very specific wavelength-dependent absorption features (Figure 41). Other products, like aerosols, clouds and surface properties, have broader absorption structures and can be derived after accurate radiometric calibration (Ref. 52).
After NASA's EOS-Aura satellite, carrying the OMI instrument, and ESA's Envisat satellite, carrying the SCIAMACHY instrument, no other instrumentation was planned in space with comparable capabilities as OMI and SCIAMACHY until the launch of the GMES Sentinel 5 mission in 2020. - This means that from ultimately 2014 onward, a data gap will exist in measuring the troposphere from space. The GOME-2 and IASI instruments on MetOp will not be able to cover this gap, due to their limited spatial resolution and lack of CH4 and CO measurements with good sensitivity down to the Earth's surface. For these reasons, the TROPOMI instrument has been defined as the successor of OMI and SCIAMACHY and bridge the time period from 2015 on Sentinel-5P until the GMES instrumentation on Sentinel-5. 55)
The TROPOMI mission objective is to measure the troposphere for scientific research, and in support of services to society, down to the Earth's surface, with sufficiently high spatio-temporal resolution to quantify anthropogenic and natural emissions and atmospheric life cycles of trace gases (O3, CO, HCHO, and SO2) and two major greenhouse gases (tropospheric O3 and methane (CH4)). In addition, aerosol particles will be monitored, which impact on air quality and climate forcing from the regional to the global scale. 56) 57)
Derived from the overall mission objective, the TROPOMI science objectives are:
• To better constrain the strength, evolution, and spatio-temporal variability of the sources of trace gases and aerosols impacting air quality and climate.
• To improve upon the attribution of climate forcing by a better understanding of the processes controlling the lifetime and distribution of methane, tropospheric ozone, and aerosols.
• To better estimate long-term trends in the troposphere, related to air quality and climate from the regional to the global scale, and provide boundary conditions for assessing local and regional air quality.
• To develop and improve air quality model processes and data assimilation in support of operational services, including air quality forecasting and protocol monitoring.
Besides filling the gap, TROPOMI combines the strengths of SCIAMACHY, OMI, and state of the art technology to provide observations with performances that cannot be met with today's instruments in space. Performance of current in-orbit instruments will be surpassed in terms of sensitivity, spectral resolution, spatial resolution and temporal resolution. However, TROPOMI will observe a smaller part of the spectrum compared with SCIAMACHY as is shown in Figure 41.
Programmatic aspects: The schedule of the Sentinel-5P program is very compact with respect to similar traditional programs. To achieve this schedule and to reduce costs of the instrument development, measures are taken in the development process of TROPOMI. These measures are, amongst others: reducing the number of requirements, reducing the number of documents to be generated, using ECSS's as guidelines rather than applicable documents, an efficient decision making process and applying the LightSat approach defined by ESA. The LightSat approach relaxes product assurance requirements and allows higher risk in some areas. On the satellite level, parallel procurement of the spacecraft platform and the instrument is applied to achieve the compact schedule. This requires flexibility in the development processes of the instrument and the spacecraft.
Figure 41: TROPOMI spectral window compared with GOME, SCIAMACHY and OMI (image credit: Dutch Space, TNO)
The development of the TROPOMI instrument was started long before the development of the spacecraft platform was selected. Of course, this is normal procedure for a complex payload that needs to be designed compared to the spacecraft platform with a standard bus architecture. This is one of the reasons that the spacecraft selection took place in a late stage of the development of TROPOMI (Ref. 45).
The CDR (Critical Dign Review) of the TROPOMI instrument is planned for end of 2012, early 2013. 58)
Instrument: The TROPOMI instrument is a pushbroom type imaging spectrometer (use of 2D detector technology) that covers a spectral range from ultraviolet to visible and selected bands in near-infrared, referred to as UVN (UV-VIS-NIR), and SWIR (Short Wave Infrared) around 2.3 µm. The relevant subsystems are: 59) 60) 61) 62) 63) 64)
• Instrument Telescope
• Instrument Calibration Unit
• UVN spectrometer, funded by NSO
• SWIR spectrometer
• ICU (Instrument Control Unit)
• TSS (Telescope Support Structure)
• RC (Radiant Cooler)
• GSE (Ground Support Equipment), funded by ESA.
The instrument is mounted on a TSS (Telescope Support Structure) which in turn in mounted onto the spacecraft (S/C) (Figure 42). A passive thermal radiator is used to reject heat from the system.
The main building blocks of TROPOMI are the following (Figure 42):
• UVN (UV-VIS-NIR) module, with telescope, three spectrograph bands and the calibration module
• SWIR module, with SWIR spectrograph
• ICU, the control unit and electrical spacecraft interface
• Thermal radiator, the passive detector and SWIR module cooler
Part of the spectrographs are the detector modules with 2-dimensional detector (CCD for the UVN and CMOS for the SWIR).
The UVN module consists of the telescope – which is shared by the UVN and the SWIR – and the 3 UVN spectrometer channels (UV, UVIS and NIR) each equipped with individual detector units. The telescope has a very wide FOV of 108º. A polarization scrambler is placed in the optical path to make the measurements insensitive to the polarization state of the incoming light. The light from the telescope is separated in the flight direction by a reflective slit. This means that the UV and SWIR channels will see a slightly shifted part of the Earth than the UVIS and NIR channels (Figure 43).
Figure 43: Projection of the spectrometer slit on-ground (image credit: Dutch Space, TNO)
Legend to Figure 43: The so-called spatial smile is caused by off-axis mirrors in the telescope. The NIR (and UVIS) channel use a common slit, while the SWIR (and UV1) channels are in-field separated by ~1º in the flight direction.
CU (Calibration Unit): The CU includes the following:
• Two sun diffusers; one for regular use, one as a backup
• WLS (White Light Source); PRNU (Photo Response Non-Uniformity) calibration and on-ground health checks
• A LED (Light-Emitting Diode) to monitor the short term variation in the output of the WLS
• For the SWIR channel, a number of laser diodes are placed in the CU, in order to be able to monitor the instrument spectral response function.
Besides the sun, a WLS, SLS (Spectral Light Source), common LEDs and channel specific LEDs are used for calibration purposes in eclipse. The WLS which is implemented using a halogen light bulb, since it provides a broad spectral range. The LEDs, positioned close to the WLS, are used to analyze the small WLS degradation. The WLS and the LEDs calibration light will pass the spectrograph. Therefore, channel LEDs are positioned close to the detectors that are used to be able to distinguish the degradations of the optical components and the detectors. The fifth calibration source is the SLS that is implemented using temperature-controlled Laser Diodes. This calibration source is located in the CU and is solely used for in flight calibration of the SWIR channel. The Laser Diodes have a very narrow spectrum that will be shifted by varying the temperature of the Laser Diodes.
The general instrument layout is shown in Figures 49 and 50. The UVN (UV-VIS-NIR) module contains the UVN spectrometer bands, the telescope and the calibration unit. The UVN module is accommodated on the UVN-OBM (Optical Bench Module). The SWIR spectrograph has its own module for thermal reasons. Since a shared telescope is used, the light for the SWIR channel is guided by relay optics in the UVN-OBM to the SWIR module.
All detectors are optimized for the light that they will detect. The UVIS and NIR detectors have a graded anti-reflective coating, in order to reduce stray light and decrease interference effects in the silicon. The SWIR optics and detector need to be cooled down to ~200 K and 140 K, respectively, to achieve the required performance. The UVN detectors operate at 210 K and 220 K, and the UVN-OBM is maintained at room temperature. The two-stage RC (Radiant Cooler) enables cooling of the optical and electrical components. Thermal busses consisting of heat pipes and flex links form the thermal interfaces with the radiant cooler. The radiant cooler is equipped with a large door that blocks irradiance from Earth (not shown in the figures). This cooler door must be stowed to fit inside the launcher fairing. Once Sentinel-5P is in orbit, the cooler door will be opened after one month. This delay prevents that the cooler areas will be contaminated by outgassing particles from the spacecraft and other instrument units by keeping these cooler surfaces warm.
The UVN module is developed by Dutch Space and TNO. The SWIR module is the cooled module containing the SWIR spectrograph and is developed by SSTL in the UK. The multilayer optical coatings are developed at CILAS Etablissement de Marseille (France).
SWIR detector/FEE subsystem:
The SWIR detector is from Sofradir (France), it is controlled by FEE (Front-End Electronics) developed by SRON. The SWIR spectrum is projected onto a Sofradir-developed 2D detector array consisting of 1000 spectral pixels and 256 spatial pixels on a 30 µm pitch, the Saturn geometry. The detector consists of an HgCdTe-based photo-sensitive layer on top of an CdZnTe substrate with a protective layer, also acting as a reflection-limiting layer. This stack is hybridized by indium bump bonds to a silicon ROIC (Read-Out Integrated Circuit) where the signal charge is converted into a voltage by CTIA (Capacitive Trans-impedance Amplifiers). Upon read out, the signal of each individual pixel is clocked simultaneously onto a sample-and-hold circuit. Signals are subsequently clocked onto 4 parallel video output lines and amplified and digitized by the FEE (Ref. 54).
The SWIR detector is mounted in a hermetically-closed package with an anti-reflection coated silicon window. The detector package is mounted onto a molybdenum base plate, attached to an aluminum cold finger providing the connection to the cold-stage radiator (Figure 44). The operational temperature of the SWIR detector is 140 K. The cold detector is connected to the 200 K SWIR spectrometer by a thin-walled titanium double cone. This construction is very stable, closed for EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference) and provides thermal insulation. An anti-reflection coated silicon window just before the SWIR detector prevents any water vapor from freezing onto the cold detector window. The small volume around the detector is vented though the cold finger and through a PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene) tube to space. This prevents any water vapor from reaching the cold detector from this side. The measures to prevent water from reaching the detector are based on lessons learned from the EnviSat/Sciamachy SWIR channels.
Figure 44: Schematic view of the SWIR detector module (image credit: TROPOMI consortium)
All electrical signals between the cold detector and the warm front-end electronics are carried by a multi-layer kapton-copper flex link. Both outer surfaces of the flex link contain a copper mesh to provide protection against EMI.
The room-temperature FEE powers and commands the SWIR detector. It amplifies the four analog video-output signals of the detector and provides digitization by using four 14 bit ADCs (Maxwell 9240LP, with the AD9240 chip of Analog Devices inside). Digital detector data and house-keeping data are relayed to the ICU (Instrument Control Unit) using the ChannelLink protocol. All communication with the ICU as well as all coordination inside the FEE is performed by a RTAX2000S FPGA.
The SWIR detector is read with a pixel speed of 800 kHz, leading to a frame-read time of 82 ms, and a maximum frame rate of 12 Hz. This is much lower than the detector capabilities, but sufficient for the application. The FEE controls the detector temperature by reading the two internal T-sensors of the Saturn detector and a PID algorithm in the FPGA. Thin-film heaters are mounted at the back of the molybdenum plate. A typical detector temperature stability obtained is 6 mK rms.
The combination of the TROPOMI SWIR detector and its FEE has been thoroughly characterized. Only the memory between two consecutive readings is with 1.6 - 1.9 % out of spec, leading to a data correction. Where this correction is not complete an effective smear of information from one ground pixel to the next has to be accepted. The detector performance on sensitivity, dark current, noise, and their uniformities are better than specified, as well as the linearity and the number of dead pixels. Overall, the performance of the SWIR detector and its FEE is considered very good for the TROPOMI application.
SWIR module: The SWIR module on TROPOMI, designed and developed by SSTL, is a pushbroom grating spectrometer operating between 2305-2385 nm. The system has a spatial resolution of approximately 7 x 7 km2 at nadir and covers a swath of 2670 km. The SWIR module will be used to measure the concentration of methane and carbon monoxide in the Earth's atmosphere providing global daily coverage from a sun-synchronous orbit.
The optical design consists of a telescope, slit, collimator, immersed grating, anamorphic prism and an imaging lens. The SWIR telescope forms an image of ground on the SWIR Spectrometer slit. The slit acts as a spatial filter selecting a strip of ground as an input to the rest of the spectrometer. A collimator takes light from the slit and creates collimated beams as an input to the immersed grating. The immersed grating disperses the collimated beams in the along track direction and the anamorphic prism and imaging lens form a dispersed image of the slit on the detector. A band pass filter is manufactured as part of the slit prism and restricts light that can reach the detector from outside the operational waveband.
The SWIR immersed grating is supplied by SRON and the SWIR detector is supplied by Sofradir. The SWIR optics are mounted in housings off a common optical bench. The optical bench is mounted off the TROPOMI telescope support structure with bipods; the bipods form a pseudoisostatic mount. The optical bench is a two piece aluminum alloy sandwich plate. Optical mounts are mounted on both sides of the optical bench. The optical bench provides a stiff framework and attachment points for mounts to be structurally connected. Aluminum alloy is selected in order to minimize thermal gradients. The optical housings are manufactured in titanium and flexure supports are used to accommodate for the difference in CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) between the housings and the optical bench. The assembled SWIR module is shown in Figure 45.
The ICU is the main electronics unit including clock sequencers for detector readout and is developed by RUAG in Sweden; the TSS (Astrium Germany) is the structure carrying the UVN with telescope and the SWIR modules.
Figure 46: TROPOMI measurement principle (image credit: KNMI) 65)
Telescope design: TROPOMI is a pushbroom instrument imaging a very wide field of view on Earth on a rectangular slit. The slit is relayed to four spectrometers for four different channels (UV, UVIS, NIR, and SWIR). In one direction, the spatial information is resolved over the long direction of the slit. This direction is referred to as the swath direction. In the other direction, spatial information is resolved by ‘sweeping' over the Earth surface. This is the flight direction. 66)
Figure 47: 3D view of the TROPOMI telescope (image credit: TNO)
Design with freeform mirrors: The telescope is shown in Figure 47. Light from Earth passes the entrance pupil and is reflected by a concave primary mirror that forms an intermediate focus. The intermediate focus is imaged by a second concave mirror on the spectrometer entrance slit. The entrance pupil is imaged in the focal plane of the second mirror, where the physical pupil stop is located. This has the advantage that the light beams leave the telescope nearly parallel (i.e. the image is telecentric), which eases the design of the spectrometers, keeping the dimensions small. Near the pupil stop, a polarization scrambler is placed to make the telescope polarization independent. In the vicinity of the intermediate focus, two field limiting apertures are present: one limits the field in the swath direction and functions as an actual field limiter. The other limits the field in the perpendicular direction (referred to as flight direction). The latter functions as a baffling aperture.
The telescope is an almost perfect f-q system: the angle in the swath direction in the entrance pupil depends linearly on the position in the slit. In the flight direction, the angle in the entrance pupil depends quadratically on the position in the slit. This latter effect is called ‘smile', after the shape of the field of view in the entrance pupil.
Diamond turning: The freeform mirrors cannot be manufactured using conventional tools. They are both non-spherical and have no axis of symmetry. The sag of the non-rotational symmetric terms varies on the order of 1 mm. In addition to the requirements on resolution, which dictates the form and the tolerances on the surface shape, other issues to deal with are throughput and stray light, dictating requirements on reflectivity and roughness, respectively.
Measurement: Suitable absolute metrology is a key ingredient in the freeform production chain. Specifically for freeform measurement, the project developed a unique absolute metrology tool called NANOMEFOS (Non-contact Measurement Machine for aspheric and Freeform Optics) 67) that has the capability of non-contact measuring surfaces with an uncertainty of better than 15 nm rms. It is fast, universal, and can accommodate large work pieces. Typical sampling speed is as high as several tens of thousands of points per minute. Its measurement volume is ∅ 500 mm x 100 mm. The NANOMEFOS machine scans the surface with an optical probe, and therefore has variable point spacing. The sampling point distance is in practice limited by the measurement time. For measuring form, ~0.1 to 1 mm is usually applied, but also line scans with mm point spacing can be applied, thus giving the possibility to perform measurements over a very large spatial frequency range.
The measurement concept resembles a giant CD-player (Fig. 6). The product is mounted on a spindle, rotating at typical speed of a few rpm around a q axis. As the product rotates, the non-contact optical distance probe moves in radial and vertical (RZ) direction. Mounted on a rotation axis Ψ, it is continuously being positioned perpendicular to the best fit (rotationally symmetric) aspheric fit of the product. The probe follows focus with an additional stage with a range of 5 mm. Thus, NANOMEFOS is able to measure any freeform surface with a that has up to 5 mm (PV) maximum deviation with respect to the best fit aspheric (convex or concave) surface.
Figure 48: NANOMEFOS machine concept with long range optical probe and separate metrology frame (image credit: TNO)
For TROPOMI a pushbroom telescope was designed that combines a very high resolution of better than 0.1° with a large FOV of 108° and a f/9 x f/10 aperture. Applying fully freeform surfaces, the telescope could be realized using no more than two mirrors. The improvement over predecessor OMI would not have been feasible without the freeform design.
Figure 49: The TROPOMI external instrument configuration with view on entrance ports (image credit: Dutch Space)
Legend to Figure 49: The SWIR module is located at the right and the UVN in the center; the telescope with the 108º wide FOV (Field-of View) angle is in front as well as the sun viewing port.
Figure 49 shows how the UVN module and telescope and the SWIR module are mounted on a common base plate. The telescope and UVN module have a common structure and the light from the telescope is fed into the SWIR module via relay optics.
Figure 50: The TROPOMI external instrument configuration with view on the SWIR module (image credit: Dutch Space)
All four TROPOMI detectors have their own read-out and control modules that have the functions of detector readout, analog-to-digital conversion, and detector thermal control. The UVN detectors are back-illuminated CCD detectors read out by Detector Modules (UVN-DEMs) that share the same design. The SWIR channel employs a CMOS detector and has a dedicated Front End Electronics module (SWIR-FEE) for detector readout and detector thermal control.
The UVN-DEMs and SWIR modules are all FPGA-based modules that are powered, controlled, and read out by the ICU (Instrument Control Unit) positioned inside the spacecraft. The ICU takes care of processing the data and forwarding the data to the spacecraft mass memory. The electrical interfaces used to transfer the science data are 140 Mbit/s Channel Link interfaces between the detectors modules and the ICU and an 80 Mbit/s SpaceWire interface between the ICU and spacecraft mass memory. - Besides controlling the detector modules, reading-out, processing and forwarding science data, the ICU provides other functions to the TROPOMI instrument. These functions are; providing thermal control to all instrument units, controlling the calibration light sources and mechanisms, and providing engineering data for instrument health status. 68)
Figure 51: Layout of the UVN-DEM (Detector Electronics Module), image credit: TROPOMI consortium, (Ref. 54)
The mass of the TROPOMI instrument is 220 kg. This is fairly low taking into account the instruments capability; this has been made possible by the SWIR design using a specially developed silicon immersed grating (Figure 52). The power consumption is: 170 W (average) and 382 W (max).
Table 4: Physical properties of the TROPOMI instrument
Achieving the performances listed in Table 5 in combination with the coregistration (the same viewing direction for all wavelengths of the given detector rows) and SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) requirements, the alignment and thermal control of the optical elements are key requirements. The TSS (Telescope Support Structure) uses a 10 cm thick honeycomb slab with a 3 mm face-sheets base plate that ensures proper mounting and alignment of the units and serves as mechanical interface with the spacecraft.
Spectral characteristics: The spectral properties of each of the spectrometers are shown in Table 5. The spatial sampling is 7 km x 7 km with the exception of bands 1 and 6. Band 1 has a larger ground pixel to allow good SNR given the low radiances for these wavelengths. Band 6 is used to obtain the most important cloud products and is read at higher spatial resolution to have as good as possible coregistration of these cloud products and the other bands.
Table 5: Performance characteristics of the TROPOMI spectral bands
The UVIS and NIR bands make use of the same spectrograph slit whereas the UV and SWIR have separate slits. This allows having a wider slit for the UV to compensate for the lower radiance for these wavelengths and for the SWIR it allows to have the slit included in the cooled SWIR module. The different slits result in slightly different viewing angles in the flight direction.
Figure 52: Illustration of the TROPOMI instrument (TNO, Dutch Space)
The DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometer) radiometry of Earth's atmosphere trace gases is the new frontier of remote sensing. To achieve the required instrument performance it is necessary to have very stable spectrometers with high spectral resolution and high SNR. TROPOMI is paving the way not only for future high end instruments that will be embarked on the next ESA Sentinel 5 mission, but it is also the opportunity to build a solid technology platform to be used as stepping stone for future instruments. While high end applications as Sentinel 5 will further push the limit of the technology, a number of simpler and more affordable, but still meaningful, instruments could be designed using the technology platform developed for TROPOMI. The TROPOMI technology platform encompasses materials, manufacturing processes, metrology, calibration, and equally important, a tight cooperation between the engineering and science teams (Ref. 51).
Table 6: Comparison of performance parameters of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) missions (Ref. 64)
Introduction of innovative technology:
The most important innovation in the TROPOMI-SWIR band is the silicon immersed grating developed by SRON, together with TNO. Compared to normal gratings, the silicon immersed grating works more efficient, yielding to a smaller grating and a much smaller SWIR module in terms of volume and mass. For the TROPOMI SWIR module this innovation enabled a volume reduction of almost a factor 40 (Ref. 45).
By letting the infrared light first pass through a medium with refractive index n before it is dispersed by the grating from inside the medium, the grating works n times more efficient than the traditional version. This trick allows the project to make the grating n times smaller and the total instrument n3 times smaller. SRON, together with TNO, have developed silicon immersed gratings with a refractive index of 3.42. This has yielded a huge, almost forty-fold, volume reduction for the spectrometer. - Immersion means that diffraction takes place inside the medium, in our case silicon. The high refractive index of the silicon medium boosts the resolution and the dispersion. Ultimate control over the groove geometry yields high efficiency and polarization control. Together, these aspects lead to a huge reduction in spectrometer volume. This has opened new avenues for the design of spectrometers operating in the short-wave-infrared wavelength band. Immersed grating technology for space application was initially developed by SRON and TNO for the short-wave-infrared channel of TROPOMI, built under the responsibility of SSTL. 69) 70) 71)
On TROPOMI the SWIR and UVN spectrometers share a common telescope. Figure 53 shows the layout of the SWIR spectrometer. A relayed image of the TROPOMI telescope input pupil is provided at the interface to the SWIR module. A SWIR telescope comprising a silicon germanium doublet forms an image of the ground on a SWIR slit. The slit is manufactured on a silicon prism using photo lithographic methods. A second silicon germanium doublet collimates light from the slit into the IG (Immersed Grating). A five element imaging lens (l1 - l5), comprising silicon and germanium elements forms a spectrally dispersed image of the slit on a MCT detector. An AP (Anamorphic Prism) is included between the immersed grating and the imaging lens and this provides fine alignment adjustment for coregistration requirements.
Figure 53: Optical layout of the TROPOMI SWIR spectrometer including the IG (Immersed Grating), an AP (Anamorphic Prism), camera-objective lenses l1-l5, and detector windows (image credit: SRON, TNO, Ref. 70)
Grating design: Figure 54 shows the IG schematically, with the incoming rays in black and dispersed rays in blue and red. The grating surface shows the characteristic V-grooves (not to scale) that arise from our etching technique; grooves are etched along a specific crystallographic direction of the mono-crystalline silicon grating material. This method results in a controlled blaze angle close to 55°, and smooth groove surfaces. The grating period is 2500 nm corresponding to 400 lines/mm. The flat parts in the plane of the grating, between the grooves are 800 nm wide. The grating is used in order six. The grating facet has a reflective coating. The angle between the grating entrance facet and grating facet is ~60º. The incoming beam is at normal incidence with the entrance facet.
Figure 54: Sketch of the principle of a normal reflection grating (left) and an immersed grating (right), lithographically produced in silicon (image credit: SRON, TNO)
Diffraction grating: The stringent requirements on both the imaging properties and the quality of the spectra translate to a high-tech grating scheme. Hence, a novel diffraction grating scheme was developed at SRON for the SWIR band based on lithographical techniques and anisotropic etching in silicon. In the design, the dispersion and resolution is increased by a factor of 3.4 with respect to conventional gratings; the grating is developed in an immersion, such that diffraction takes place inside the silicon grating material. By lithographic patterning and anisotropic etching of the mono-crystalline silicon the line spacing and blaze angle can be precisely controlled. 72) 73) 74)
The grating has a line spacing of 2.5 µm and is operated in sixth order. We show that an efficiency of 60% is reached on a 50 x 60 mm2 grating surface. The test results with numerical calculations for grating efficiency for both polarizations are compared and were found in good agreement.
This novel approach has a fourfold benefit over conventional mechanical ruling of gratings:
1) First the gratings are lithographically produced and thus benefit from state-of-the art methods, materials and equipment from the semiconductor industry.
2) Secondly, using anisotropic etching along preferred axes in the silicon crystal arbitrary blaze angles can be obtained enabling optimization of the diffraction efficiency.
3) Thirdly, the etched reflecting facets are very smooth suppressing stray light.
4) A fourth and decisive improvement over traditional gratings is that silicon gratings can be illuminated from inside the medium, or "in immersion", for wavelengths above 1.2 µm for which silicon is transparent.
The resolution of a grating scales with its size, relative to the wavelength. By illuminating the grating from the inside, as illustrated in Figure 54, the wavelength is reduced by the index of refraction of the medium n. Therefore, immersed gratings of high index materials can be made smaller than conventional gratings. The volume gain of the complete spectrometer can be up to n-cubed, implying a huge cost reduction for many applications, in particular for space applications. These advantages make the immersed gratings "enabling technology" for future scientific space missions.
The grating, selected for the TROPOMI SWIR spectrometer, has a line spacing of 2500 nm and a 54.7º blaze angle. The total grating area is 50 mm high and 60 mm in width. An efficiency of 60% is obtained.
Figure 55: Photo of the monolithical immersed grating (left), drawing of the grating prism (right), image credit: SRON, TNO)
Mounting the grating: The immersed grating is a single crystal of silicon with a grating surface etched onto one face. The operational temperature of the optical bench is 200 K. The immersed grating is mounted in a monolithic titanium alloy structure (Figure 56); it is held into the structure by epoxy adhesive (Masterbond EP21TCHT-1). The epoxy adhesive is contained in recesses within invar buttons to control the bond line thickness. Invar is used at the adhesive interface as its CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) is a good match to that of the silicon of the immersed grating over the required temperature range. This will limit the stress induced birefringence and also ensures that stresses in the adhesive are kept to a minimum. Due to the CTE difference between titanium alloy and the silicon prism, flexure sections are required in the mounting structure to compensate for displacements at operating temperature. The invar buttons are therefore mounted into flexure arms which feature a thin blade section to compensate for displacements across the prism and folded flexure spring sections to compensate for further displacements.
Figure 56: Mounting scheme of the immersed grating (image credit: SRON, TNO)
Legend to Figure 56: The immersed grating prism (purple, on left side image) is mounted in a monolithic titanium alloy structure (grey); it is held into the structure by epoxy adhesive. Invar is used at the adhesive interface. The right side image is a zoom of the mounting structure showing an invar button (brown) mounted in a flexure spring section of the titanium structure.
The manufacturing and test of the IGs was completed in July 2012. The FM and spare gratings are fully compliant with the optomechanical specifications. The wave front error is 0.6 µm rms and can be reduced to 0.3 µm rms with focus correction (Ref. 70).
Detector development: The UVN detector developed for TROPOMI is a back illuminated 1024 x 1024 pixel frame transfer CCD with a pixel pitch of 26 µm. The device is developed by e2V in the UK and has different coatings for the different wavelength bands to allow maximizing the quantum efficiency and minimizing interference structures for the NIR (Ref. 53). 75)
The device is operated in non-inverted mode (NIMO). Despite the higher intrinsic dark current (surface dark current is not suppressed) this has a number of advantages. The first is that it allows using the full pixel full well instead of being limited by the so-called ellipsoid effect present in inverted mode (IMO). This effect is an ellipsoid shaped noisy structure occurring when pixels are filled more than typically 50%. Such a reduction of the pixel full well is not acceptable in view of the already high pixel readout rate of 5 MHz. A further advantage of NIMO is the lower power dissipation. This allows obtaining a lower operating temperature with the same cooling power and thereby repairs much of the increase in dark current. Since the largest contribution to the dark current will come from the surface of the CCD, the contribution from RTS (Random Telegraph Signal) will be much lower. In addition the lower temperature will not only decrease the bulk dark current but also the RTS, both in amplitude and in time scale. At the proposed operating temperature the time scale of any RTS will probably be long enough such that any RTS that may be present can be corrected for.
The device has metal buttresses to have the line transfer time as low as possible to minimize exposure smear. Having metal buttresses means that with today's technologies, the project is bound to 2 phase parallel clocking. This results in a lower pixel full well, as compared to 4 phase clocking, but this was acceptable in view of the lower development risk.
First test results with a front illuminated breadboard detectors show that most performances are as expected. There is no sign of RTS pixels in the test devices and the dark current is better than anticipated.
Figure 57: Photo of the EM (Engineering Model) of the TROPOMI UVN CCD (image credit: e2V)
For the SWIR range, TROPOMI uses the off-the-shelf Sofradir SATURN detector. This is a HgCdTe-based CMOS detector with 1000 x 256 pixels of 30 µm pitch. The detector is, apart from the number of pixels, similar to the MARS detector which was used successfully in a SWIR spectrograph breadboard.
Operational flexibility: TROPOMI is a very flexible instrument in terms of the readout of its detectors. The most important instrument settings are as follows.
• To avoid saturation in the detectors, there are up to 25 detector readouts during the spatial sampling satellite travel distance. TROPOMI allows users to set the exposure times with step size 1 ms for the UVN and 200 µs for the SWIR and the number of exposures to be co-added into the spatial sampling distance in the flight direction.
• The UVN module CCDs bin a programmable number of pixels to have the wanted sampling in the swath direction, nominally 4 detector pixels are binned to have a 7 km resolution at nadir. Since the sampling measured on ground increases with the swath angle, it is possible to have lower binning factors towards the extreme swath angles.
• The UVN module CCDs allow binning groups of pixel rows below and above the illuminated regions to have stray light estimates and also to bin covered rows on top and the bottom of the CCDs for exposure smear and dark current. Gains for these rows are selected separately to allow fair SNRs (Signal-to-Noise Ratios).
• For each UVN band, it is possible to select the CCD output amplifier gain and the ADC (Analog Digital Converter) gain, separately for each row.
The exposure time settings are to be used to optimize the SNRs for different latitudes and for special cases such as ozone hole conditions. Since the exposure times for all bands have to fit into the same satellite travel distance, it is also possible to adjust the exposure co-addition time and thereby the spatial sampling in the flight direction.
The flexibility in selecting the exposure times introduces in turn a risk of EMC effects in the detector readout. This risk is minimized by including ADCs in the detector proximity electronics, thereby having digital signals in the harness between detector modules and electronics unit. On the other hand, the detectors are read at a frequency of 5 MHz which is high enough to be cautious.
This risk is mitigated by synchronizing the different detectors. This is achieved by implementation of a few simple rules.
• During a frame transfer of any UVN detector, there shall be no readout of any other detector
• During a line transfer (of the storage section into the register) of any UVN detector, there shall be no readout of any other detector.
• Frame transfers, line transfers and readout shall not be interrupted.
It is possible to switch the synchronization off in case the EMC risk does not show up in later hardware phases.
Co-registration: Co-registration means that all wavelengths of a given detector row have the same viewing directions, both in the across-flight and in the flight direction. Coregistration is important because level 1-2 product retrieval algorithms assume all wavelengths in the Level 1 product observe the same air mass. There are a number of hardware effects that impact the coregistration performance.
In the flight direction, the different slits for UV, UVIS/NIR and SWIR lead to a swath dependent offset as shown in Figure 58. The effect for the UV is similar but this is not so critical as this band observes the upper atmosphere with few clouds and scene variation.
Figure 58: UVIS/NIR and SWIR slits projected onto the Earth surface, showing the displacement, increase with swath angle and relative curvature in the flight direction (image credit: SRON, TNO)
Legend to Figure 58: The two bottom curves mark the start and end of the slit projection for the UVIS/NIR and the two upper curves for the SWIR.
In the swath direction and within detector bands, there are the cushion-shaped distortions related to using gratings. These are minimized as much as possible in the optical design but there will be remnants due to manufacturing tolerances. - In the swath direction the most difficult effects are between the detector bands, as these require subdetector pixel accuracies in detector mounting and optical element alignment and the accuracies include orbital effects due to the changing thermal environment.
The most critical coregistration performance is between the NIR and the SWIR and the NIR and the UVIS bands because the NIR band yields the cloud product needed to obtain accurate air mass estimates for the trace gas products from the SWIR and UVIS bands.
Hence, the project downlinks the NIR data at improved spatial sampling and interpolate the NIR data towards the SWIR and the UVIS viewing. In the swath direction, this is possible by reducing the detector pixel binning from 4 to 2 and thereby have a spatial sampling of 3.5 km. In the flight direction, the co-addition time is reduced by a factor 3 and thereby the spatial sampling is about 2.3 km. Given the relevant resolutions, this is sufficient for interpolation. Interpolation is seen as an effective correction of the inter-channel co-registration errors. The accuracy of the knowledge of the pointing difference between channels and its stability form now the most important remaining error. The stability of the co-registration during flight is estimated to be within 10% of a ground pixel which is sufficiently small.
Heterogeneous scenes: Trace gas products from instruments such as TROPOMI are normally derived from reflectance spectra, the ratio of Earth radiance and sun irradiance measurements. The absorption signatures in these spectra can be small, e.g. in the order of a per cent in the case of minor absorbing gases. Therefore, if an accuracy in the product of a few per cent is wanted, then the reflectance spectra need to be free from any distortion on the 10-3 to 10-4 level and with a very accurate wavelength definition in the order of 1/100 of a spectral sampling distance.
There are several mechanisms introducing such distortions or features:
• Sun measurements use a diffuser to convert irradiance into radiance entering the telescope; because of the good spectral and spatial resolution coherence effects will show up as seemingly random spikes or features; the Earth spectra do not use a diffuser and therefore the features are present in the reflectance spectra.
• The polarization scrambler consists of a stack of four birefringent wedges and result in wavelength and viewing angle dependent modulations of the signals; these modulations vary in the Earth measurements with polarization but they are constant in the sun measurements as this is not polarized.
• Varying pixel-to-pixel variation in the detector sensitivity (PRNU) in combination with a varying scene and pixel binning leads to small errors in Earth radiance measurements; sun measurements do not have the effect because the sun is spatially constant via the diffuser.
• Non-uniform illumination of the slit in the across slit direction leads to distortion of the slit function and effectively in a wavelength shift and radiometric effect.
The latter is the heterogeneous scenes effect and is the topic of this section. Figure 59 shows the basics of an OMI-type spectrograph, showing the transfer of flight direction spatial information towards slit illumination and from there onto the spectral direction of the 2D detector.
Figure 59: SNR spectrum of the UVIS spectrograph for end-of-life conditions together with requirement (image credit: SRON, TNO)
The left side of the graph (Figure 60) shows light beams from different directions entering the telescope and being imaged on different edges of the slit. The right size of the graph shows a spectrograph where the beams are projected on different locations of the detector. If the scene is constant, this leads to the desired slit function, or SRF (Spectral Radiance Function), imaged onto the detector. If the illumination of the slit is not uniform, the beams have different radiance content and cause a distortion of the slit function. This distortion causes a radiometric error, and, because the barycenter of the slit function is changed, to a wavelength error.
Figure 60: Basic pushbroom spectrograph showing how flight direction spatial information on the left is transferred to the spectral response function on the right; color separation from the grating is left out of the graph
Figure 61: Staring observation of a heterogeneous scene for the UVIS band at 500 nm; the different curves are for the different exposures where the satellite has moved (image credit: SRON, TNO)
The effect has been modelled where Figure 61 shows the different parts of the scene observed for the different exposures within a co-addition or dwell time. The dwell time was chosen such that it includes a major change in the scene. Following the graphs in Figure 61, an additional convolution was applied to include the motion of the satellite and the curves were converted to wavelength scale to obtain the slit functions or SRFs. This conversion is directly from the fact that a half a ground pixel on Earth (3.5 km) is imaged onto 3 detector pixels and the same 3 detector pixels represent the oversampled spectral resolution.
The slit functions are used to compute from high resolution scene spectra the pixel content for each detector pixel and this allows to compute an error by comparing the result with that of an averaged constant scene. The result is shown in Figure 62 and shows the errors are on a percent level.
Figure 62: Heterogeneous scenes errors as a function of wavelength (image credit: SRON, TNO)
The errors can be seen as a shift in the barycenter's of the slit functions and can therefore also be expressed as wavelength errors. This is shown in Fig. 12 where the wavelength errors are shows from fitting the Fraunhofer structures in the spectra in a number of predefined wavelength windows. The heterogeneous scene has errors of about 0.015 nm.
Figure 63: Wavelength fit errors from heterogeneous scene as compared to the reference scene; they show up because the differently shaped slit functions have effectively shifted barycenters (image credit: SRON, TNO)
The ground segment main elements are the FOS (Flight Operations Segment) located at ESOC in Darmstadt and the PDGS (Payload Data-processing Ground Segment) and Mission Planning Facility, located at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, both in Germany. Their tasks are the commanding, tracking and monitoring of the spacecraft as well as the acquisition, processing, archiving and dissemination of science data, respectively. The PDGS will, in particular, host the Level 0-1b & Level 2 processing facility which will generate routine Level 0 / 1b and Level 2 data products. The Level 0-1b software is provided by KNMI to be installed in the PDGS. The Level 2 products are a joint procurement by ESA and NSO and is coordinated by KNMI. The Level 2 products are developed by KNMI, SRON, DLR and BIRA. 76) 77)
The envisaged near-real-time dissemination scheme for Level 1b and 2 data products implies that the recorded science telemetry is downlinked at least once per orbit. This will be accomplished by use of high latitude X-band stations in the Svalbard region of Spitzbergen, Norway. A schematic view of the primary elements of the ground segment is given in Figure 64.
Table 7 lists the level 2 data products of Sentinel 5. With the exception of the CO2, all products are targeted by the Sentinel 5P TROPOMI instrument.
The DLR German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) in Oberpfaffenhofen developed and integrated the entire payload ground segment, including data reception, processing, archiving and distribution. Operation of the payload ground segment as part of the ESA ground segment also belongs to the remit of the German Remote Sensing Data Center. The data processors that convert the measurement data into geophysical data products were developed by the DLR Remote Sensing Technology Institute, the University of Bremen and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz as part of a European consortium.
1) "Agreement between the Netherlands and ESA signed for Sentinel-5 Precursor instrument," ESA, July 6, 2009, URL: http://www.esa.int/esaLP/SEMP8BLXOWF_LPgmes_0.html
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The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (email@example.com).