Saab Ericsson Space AB in Gothenburg, Sweden, has performed a two-week measurement campaign with a satellite instrument on Maui in the Pacific. The campaign gives a possibility of advance training and understanding of data interpretation before the instrument is placed in orbit on board the Eumetsat meteorology satellite MetOp.
"On top of the volcano Haleakala at 3 000 meters altitude, we get a measurement situation close enough to the actual operational environment on board the MetIOp satellites to enable us to draw important conclusions on how to handle and interpret data", says Anders Carlström, the campaign leader. "The humid climate surrounding Maui is a good test case for use of this measurement technique".
Saab Ericsson Space has for a number of years, on behalf of ESA, developed a meteorological instrument that uses radio signals from the satellite navigation system GPS to measure temperature, pressure and humidity in the troposphere. Until now, weather balloons have been used for this kind of measurements. Satellite technology now enables global measurements, around the clock and over extended periods of time. This will give meteorologists a completely new tool for development of weather forecasting and for climate research.
Saab Ericsson Space has recently delivered instruments of this type to the three MetOp satellites, developed in cooperation between ESA and Eumetsat, the European meteorological agencies joint operation for satellite measurements. The first MetOp satellite will be launched in October 2005. The instrument consists of antennas and radio receivers for simultaneous measurements of several GPS signals using advanced digital signal processing. Austrian Aerospace, a Saab Ericsson Space subsidiary, has had an important role in developing the signal processing.
"The campaign went smoothly even if some trimming of the instrument was necessary after transportation to Maui. Now it remains for our partners from the University of Ålborg, Denmark to interpret data and draw the correct conclusions", says Anders Carlström. "We have already made extensive tests of the instrument function in laboratory environment and to have the possibility to do this kind of measurements makes us even more convinced that everything will work in line with intentions, once in orbit".
Saab Ericsson Space is an international, independent supplier of space equipment. The company's main products are computers, microwave electronics and antennas for spacecraft and adapters and separation systems for launchers. The company has its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, a division located in Linköping, Sweden, and subsidiaries in Austria (Austrian Aerospace) and the USA (Saab Ericsson Space Inc). Saab Ericsson Space has approximately 530 employees. The company is jointly owned by Saab and Ericsson.
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