Nov 25, 2007

IASI Instrument Built By Thales Alenia Space Operational In Orbit

Following the IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) conference, held in France (Anglet) from 13 to 16 November 2007 and organised by the French Space Agency (CNES) and Eumetsat, Thales Alenia Space is joining the Agencies and the scientists to celebrate the validation of the instrument and the good quality of the first results.

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Jointly developed by CNES and Eumetsat, IASI was build by Thales Alenia Space.

IASI is one of 12 instruments to fly on Metop, Europe’s first operational polar orbiting satellite launched on 19 October 2006. IASI is an innovative, highly sophisticated Infrared sounding instrument used for global measurements of atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles with unprecedented accuracy and spectral resolution.

From June 2007, introduction of IASI data in Numerical Weather Prediction Model has allowed significant improvements in Operational Meteorology; moreover, the resulting weather forecast accuracy will further increase in the coming years, in parallel with the expected progress made in IASI data assimilation.

The IASI measurements will also provide enhanced support for climate monitoring (temperature and greenhouse gases monitoring) and will contribute to the knowledge of Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry through a capability of 3D survey of key trace gases.

The instrument has 8,461 thermal infrared channels and a spectral resolution from 0.35 – 0.5 cm-1 resolving the absorption spectrum of in the atmosphere in fine details. From a low-altitude, sun-synchronous orbit over a swath width of 2200 kilometres, IASI samples 30 earth views along an across-track scan and will observe and measure twice a day the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth. In addition, IASI includes an integrated imager which samples the IASI sounder pixels with a kilometric spatial resolution (64 X 64 pixels) in the Infrared window region.

The main objective of the Anglet conference was to give the results on the instrument performances in flight and to show initial results of assimilation of IASI in Atmospheric and Numerical Weather Prediction models.

About Thales Alenia Space

European leader in satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Together with Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space forms a Space Alliance between the two groups. The company is a world-wide reference in telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defence and security, navigation and science. With 7200 employees and 11 industrial sites, Thales Alenia Space is located in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

(source: Thales Alenia Space)