COPERNICUS - Climate protection from space

Copernicus ©ESA 2015 ­ Illustration: P. CARRIL

About the project

Climate change poses great challenges for our planet. To meet these challenges, the European Union has launched Copernicus, an Earth observation programme. Satellites are used to collect data that will enable scientists to gain insights into the environment and security, ranging from air quality forecasts, early detection of droughts and desertification, seawater quality measurements to early warnings of storms. This knowledge helps European service providers, public authorities and other organisations to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

Part of the Copernicus mission is Sentinel-5, an Earth observation satellite that launched in 2022. It contains a spectrometer for displaying and measuring various spectra. In order to work reliably, researchers must calibrate each spectrometer regularly.

Copernicus HOD

Our contribution

In space, astronomers use the sun as a reference light source for this calibration. However, since the amount of sunlight reaching the satellite changes regularly, scientists need a material that collects and transmits sunlight regardless of angle. This is done via a diffuser. When calibrating a spectrometer, there is a risk of radiation damage in space. This means that the diffuser loses its constant behaviour over time and can therefore no longer be used for calibration.

To prevent radiation damage, a diffusing material from Heraeus is used. The diffuser, which is particularly resistant to radiation, is UV-resistant and allows reliable data to be recorded.

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