Thales Alenia Space to build Copernicus CIMR satellites

To respond to high-priority requirements from key Arctic user communities

Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %) announced today that it has signed a 93 Meuro, first tranche of the 495 Meuro global contract, with the European Space Agency (ESA) to build the Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer (CIMR) environmental monitoring satellites. The CIMR mission is part of the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component programme of the European Space Agency, ESA, in partnership with the European Commission. The European Copernicus flagship programme provides Earth observation and in situ data and a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

Thales Alenia Space will serve as mission prime with main partners OHB Italia for the instrument and HPS (High Performance Space Structure System GmbH) for the Antenna Reflector. This mission is dedicated to provide observations of Sea-Surface Temperature (SST), Sea-Ice Concentration (SIC) and Sea-Surface Salinity (SSS). Uniquely, it would also observe a wide range of other sea-ice parameters as Sea Ice Thickness (SIT), Sea Ice Drift (SID), Ice Type/Stage, Snow Depth on Sea Ice or Ice Surface Temperature (IST). CIMR  responds to high-priority requirements from key Arctic user communities and will improve continuity of missions monitoring the Polar Regions, notably in terms of spatial resolution (~5 km) temporal resolution (sub-daily) and geophysical accuracy. CIMR measurement performances are at worldwide state of art.

“Our strong expertise and heritage on both Copernicus programs and radar technologies will serve this mission which is considered essential to the successful  implementation of the integrated EU Artic Policy”, declared Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space.

The CIMR system consists of up to 3 Satellites dedicated to day-and-night monitoring of land, ice and oceans flying in loose convoy with METOP SG satellite B. CIMR orbit is quasi-polar, near circular and sun-synchronous. In order to acquire measurements on a wide swath, the instrument rotates continuously about an axis parallel to the local spacecraft vertical. The antenna system view the Earth scene with a nearly constant incidence angle of about 55.5 deg.

The CIMR satellites embark each a wide-swath conically-scanning multi-frequency microwave radiometer provided by OHB Italia and operating from L to ka band enabling radiometric measurements with unprecedented levels of accuracy. CIMR will be designed for a 7 years nominal lifetime with a sub-daily Artic and Antarctic area coverage, it will be compatible with Vega-C and Ariane 6-2 launchers and will be fitted by a controlled re-entry system.

Massimo Comparini, Senior Executive Vice President Observation, Exploration and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space commented:“We are proud to lead this crucial mission for Europe and for arctic communities,  as CIMR will provide operational sea-ice services and continuously monitoring of Arctic environment”.

This program will take both advantage of Thales Alenia Space proven heritage in Copernicus missions, Earth observation satellites as well as the OHB Italia experience on rotating microwave imager, the platform is based on the new Thales Alenia Space Multi-Mission Platform product line (MILA),and the Large Deployable Reflector (LDRS) will be provided by the German company HPS.

Source: Thales
Date: Nov 16, 2020