OHB Awarded Contract for Carbonsat Mission Study

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PARIS — Germany’s OHB System will design a satellite to monitor global carbon dioxide and methane concentrations, the two most significant contributors to global warming, under a 20-month study with the European Space Agency (ESA) announced May 24.

Under the study, valued at 2.5 million euros ($3.3 million), Bremen-based OHB and its partners, Thales Alenia Space of France, GMV of Spain and CGS of Italy — an OHB System sister company — will propose a satellite and mission architecture for ESA to review in 2013.

Competing with OHB on Carbonsat is a consortium led by Astrium Satellites, whose separate 22-month contract with ESA was announced in April.

Carbonsat is one of two candidates for funding as ESA’s eighth Earth Explorer mission. Both have relevance to the assessment of the causes and effects of global warming.

The other mission ESA is studying is the Fluorescence Explorer satellite. Its purpose is to assess vegetation fluorescence and photosynthetic activity with a view to evaluating the amount of carbon stored in plants.