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RUAG Space computer controls Sentinel-6 environmental satellite

RUAG Space computer controls Sentinel-6 environmental satellite

Press release from: Espaço RUAG
Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2020

In the past five years, the global ocean has grown, on average, 4.8 mm per year. With millions of people around the world at risk of rising sea, it is essential to continue measuring the variation in the height of the sea surface. Crucial data will be delivered by the Sentinel-6 environmental satellite, which will measure the height of sea level. The launch is scheduled for November 10, 2020 from Vandenberg’s launch site in California, USA, aboard a Falcon-9 rocket. “Our main products make this important climate mission possible”, says Luis De León Chardel, Executive Vice President of Espaço RUAG. Once the satellite is in space, a RUAG Space computer will take over. “Our computer is the brain of the satellite,” explains Anders Linder, senior vice president of electronics at RUAG Space. The computer, for example, controls the distribution of energy on board the satellites, temperatures and critical actions, such as the release of locking mechanisms and propeller operations.

Accurate determination of a satellite’s position

The position of the satellite in orbit is determined in a few centimeters by the navigation receivers of Espaço RUAG. “The demands for quality, accuracy and reliability of our navigation receivers for such a mission are immense,” says Anders Linder. In addition, the thermal insulation of the RUAG Space protects the satellite from heat and cold of plus / minus 200 degrees Celsius in space. Thermal insulation consists of several layers of thin metallic wafer-like polyimide film.

Sea level rise under observation

The global ocean satellite Sentinel-6 will measure the height of sea level and thus provide important data for climate research. Permanent observations of the world’s oceans are needed to obtain information about changes in sea level. Due to the enormous size of the oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth, the use of satellites from space is necessary. For this, the Copernicus Sentinel-6 carries a radar altimeter as the main sensor. The instrument is best suited to observe sea level and ice thickness in the polar regions. In addition, the satellite carries several instruments for navigation and observation of water vapor.

Sentinel-6 will map up to 95% of Earth’s oceans every 10 days. To date, global sea level measurements have been carried out by a fleet of satellites that includes the Franco-American missions Topex Poseidon and Jason, previous ESA missions, such as the ERS, Envisat and CryoSat satellites, and the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite. .

Sentinel-6: a joint project

Sentinel-6-Michael Freilich is a joint project of ESA, European Commission, Eumetsat, NASA and NOAA, with support from CNES. Copernicus is managed by the European Commission in partnership with ESA. Eumetsat will operate the satellite and manufacture and supply the products. NASA and NOAA will contribute to the microwave radiometer, laser retro reflector and GNSS radio concealer. Airbus is the main system and satellite, managing 32 companies from European industries. The satellite was named after Michael H. Freilich, who led NASA’s work in earth science as director of NASA’s Earth Science Division for more than 12 years and died in August 2020.

About RUAG Space: RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe and has a growing presence in the United States. In total, Espaço RUAG has approximately 1,300 employees in six countries. RUAG Space develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role in both the institutional and commercial space markets.

RUAG International is a Swiss technology group focused on the aerospace industry. With production units in 14 countries, the company is divided into the four business units Space, Aerostructures, MRO International and Ammotec. With a strategic focus on the Aerospace business unit, the company will, in the medium term, be comprised of the two Aerospace and Space business units. RUAG Space is the leading European supplier of products to the space industry. RUAG Aerostructures is a leading global aerospace supplier. RUAG International employs around 6,500 people, about two-thirds of whom work abroad.

Complete online media release:

More about the Sentinel-6 mission: / missions / sentinel-6 /mission summary

More about Sentinel-6 sea level monitoring: / Observing_the_Land / Copernicus / Sea level_Monitoring_satellite_on_show

More about RUAG’s electronics portfolio: / space /electronics

More about thermal insulation for RUAG satellites: / space /spaceship / multi-layer-isolation

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