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UK climate satellite mission contracts awarded at COP28

Two companies have been given major deals to contribute to a new climate-related located in space. 

Airbus UK will receive almost £95million and Teledyne e2v will get around £9million from the UK Space Agency’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA). Both will now begin work on the next phase of the TRUTHS mission. 

The Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial-and-Helio Studies project aims to collect the most accurate measurements of energy arriving at Earth from the Sun, and how much light is reflected back off the planet’s atmosphere. Through this, climate changes will be better understood and efforts to mitigate these will become more effective and targeted.

The mission is due to begin in 2030, and involves the creation of an off-world climate and calibration observatory in orbit. This will run alongside and complement other Copernicus Sentinel missions which are centred on measuring 38 of 55 Essential Climate Variables. 

‘This UK-led mission will have a global impact, providing invaluable measurements to improve our understanding of our climate. Thanks to British skills and expertise, this work is generating growth and developing important industrial capabilities across our space sector, driving forward our ambitions to cement the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower,’ said Andrew Griffith, Science, Research and Innovation Minister. 

Funding will pay for Airbus to work on satellite design and development. Teledyne e2v, meanwhile, is tasked with handling the sensor technologies, called the Hyperspectral Imaging Spectrometer Detection System. Ocean and land surface measurements can be taken using this equipment, revealing true radiation budgets and improving observations that form the basis for modelling climate, land use change, carbon cycle, agriculture and pollution. 

‘This a major milestone for the TRUTHS mission and fantastic news for our world-leading Earth observation sector. The mission will play a vital role in improving how we monitor climate change using satellite data and supporting the decisive climate action which global nations are negotiating at COP28,’ said Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency. ‘But TRUTHS is more than something to monitor the planet, it is an exemplar of how the industry can incorporate sustainable space operations and reduce carbon impacts through the life cycle of the mission.’

More on COP28:

COP28: Delegates must give wildlife a seat at the table

‘No science’ behind fossil fuel plan, says COP28 President

COP28 fossil fuel hopes boosted with local government demands

Image: UK Space Agency

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