e2v has been awarded a contract by Leonardo-Finmeccanica for the supply of customised Charge Coupled Device (CCD) image sensors for their Multi-viewing, Multi-channel, Multi-polarisation Imager (3MI), an instrument for a series of weather and climate monitoring satellites. The 3MI instruments will be integrated by Airbus Defence and Space, as the Prime Contractor, on the three Meteorological Operational Second Generation (MetOp-SG) “A series” of satellites, being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) for EUMETSAT.

The customised e2v CCD design is based on the successful CCD47-20 image sensor which has been used in many star tracker missions and scientific instruments for atmospheric monitoring. The frame transfer image sensor will be used in the visible and near infrared channels of the instrument, which will measure aerosol properties with unprecedented accuracy and resolution, compared to other current optical missions.

3MI has 13 spectral channels that are optimised for different wavelengths and will scan Earth image strips up to 2,200 km in width, with a ground resolution of 4 km. The pixel size of the sensor has been optimised for high dynamic range in order to increase the accuracy of the radiometry performed.

e2v will deliver image sensors for three instruments on the MetOp-SG “A series” of satellites, which will be launched in series starting from 2021 for a total mission lifetime of 21 years. In addition to 3MI, e2v will provide high performance CCD314 image sensors for the ultra-violet, visible and near infrared channels of ESA’s Sentinel-5 instrument (part of the Copernicus cooperation with the European Union) to monitor various trace gases, air quality and support climate monitoring. e2v will also supply the highly innovative CMOS linear device for the visible and near infrared focal plane of DLR’s METimage instrument, to provide information on clouds, land surface properties, sea and ice. Both the Sentinel-5 and METimage instruments will also be embarked on the MetOp-SG “A series” of satellites.

Romeo de Vidi, Program Manager, Space Line Business at Leonardo-Finmeccanica, said, “Leonardo’s electro-optical systems are on-board all of the most important international planetary exploration and Earth observation programmes and so our instruments need to be extremely precise and reliable. We selected e2v as a partner for 3MI because of the company’s proven skills and capabilities that we’re seeing in other programmes that we’re working on together.”
e2v’s Key Account Manager, Jean Francois Bruyeres, said, “We’re delighted to have signed this contract and partner with Leonardo-Finmeccanica to deliver a customised sensor for climate monitoring. High quality aerosol imagery will facilitate the measurement of all essential aerosol parameters, which are becoming increasingly important for accurate weather prediction.”
EUMETSAT is the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites
DLR is the German Aeronautics and Space Centre