UK team delivers Earth observation instrument that will improve climate knowledge

A broadband radiometer instrument, designed and built in the UK with the aim of improving our understanding of the Earth’s climate, has been delivered to the EarthCARE mission team in Germany.

The broadband radiometer (BBR) is a scientific instrument for the Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) satellite. It is a cutting-edge piece of engineering that will use three telescopes looking in three directions at once to study the radiance at the top of the atmosphere for better weather prediction. It will look at the relationship between clouds, aerosols and radiation and their combined effects on the Earth’s climate system.

This is the latest step towards completing the European Space Agency’s most complex Earth observation satellite.

Design, construction and testing of the BBR was led by Thales Alenia Space in the United Kingdom. RAL Space provided the thermal design for the telescope assembly as well as the optical, mechanical and electrical design for the whole instrument. Also, the majority of environmental testing, functional testing and instrument calibration was also performed at RAL Space facilities.

Dr Chris Mutlow, director of RAL Space said, “The BBR is an innovative and complex piece of engineering. I’m delighted that it’s now ready to be integrated with the EarthCARE spacecraft and look forward to the impact its observations will have on our ability to model and understand the processes involved in climate change.”