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EarthCARE MSI programme

29 January 2009

The Infrared Multilayer Laboratory has recently started work on the first phase study contract for the design, development and fabrication of space-flight infrared optics in the ESA EarthCARE mission. This initial contract received from Surrey Satellite Technology Limited comprises a conceptual design and feasibility study for thin-film coatings and materials development for filtering the optical system in the Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) instrument payload.

EarthCARE is ESA's Clouds Aerosols and Radiation Explorer mission. It is a joint mission in collaboration with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. The satellite will carry a payload of four instruments of which MSI is one. The four instruments will operate synergistically with the aim of providing a better understanding of clouds and aerosols and their impact on Earth's climatology. An important feature of the mission is that its instruments will make, for the first time, near simultaneous measurements of the same cloud/aerosol scene. The MSI instrument is a 7-band downward looking scanner with a complex optical system which is being designed to provide images of clouds and data on cloud types, texture and temperature distribution. Infrared filters, beamsplitters and antireflection lenses will be employed in the instrument to define and isolate the wavelength bands of interest which are key components to the instrument performance.