After a successful launch in November 2020, the Satellite In-Orbit Verification activities have been concluded. All the ground-based infrastructure and software useful for the study of climate change and weather forecasting are currently being validated, in preparation for the start of routine operations later in December this year.
The architecture design and engineering that allow the data from the satellite Sentinel-6 to be acquired and processed into scientific data useful for the study of climate change and weather forecasting is truly Italian. The company Exprivia was key to the success of the Sentinel-6 system in-orbit validation.
Sentinel-6 is part of the COPERNICUS program; it was developed thanks to an international cooperation by EUMETSAT, ESA, NASA, NOAA and with the support from CNES. Exprivia was contracted by EUMETSAT and COPERNICUS, to supply the Payload Data Acquisition and Processing (PDAP) sub-segment, as well as the European Tracking, Telemetry and Command service for the control of the mission.
Exprivia – after winning the PDAP international public tender announced by EUMETSAT – designed and implemented a system responsible for acquiring the signal sent by the satellite to the ground systems and the subsequent transformation of the data flow into precise measurements of the sea surface height. The data transmitted on ground and processed at EUMETSAT with the equipment provided by Exprivia provide useful information for the scientific community to monitor the ocean currents, improve weather and ocean forecasts and analyse climate changes.
It is in the seas, in fact, that all the signals on the warming of the planet Earth are concentrated, and they are not comforting: in recent years the water level has risen, on average, by 4.8 millimetres per year, based on previous satellite data.
Sentinel-6 aims to improve the accuracy and coverage of the monitoring of the seas and oceans, initiated by previous satellite missions since 1993, thanks to a new and sophisticated radar altimetry technology, the most recent developed in Europe. This technology allows the height of the ocean surface to be estimated accurately on a global scale.
Exprivia manages the entire supply of a satellite data reception and processing system in an Earth Observation Program as important as Copernicus, a crucial element for the success of the Sentinel-6 mission. Based on the first data arrived from the satellite and processed on ground, EUMETSAT has already been able to verify that the Sentinel-6 mission works as expected.
“It was two years of intense work for Exprivia, carried out in its critical acceptance phases in the pandemic period, which greatly complicated the testing and delivery of the system in Germany, at EUMETSAT. - states Roberto Medri, Head of Digital Factory Defence & Aerospace in Exprivia. We have achieved an excellent result, a success for a growing Italian company in the aerospace sector which is Exprivia; we are also honoured to be able to make our contribution to this mission which aims to monitor the worrying rise in sea level to expand current knowledge and allow action to be taken to safeguard Earth life”.