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ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / SMOS

Full name: Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission

Launched: 2 November 2009 at 02:50 CET from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

Launcher: Rockot by Eurockot Launch Services GmbH

Satellite: Proteus platform adapted to the needs of SMOS

Instrument: Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis (MIRAS),  2D interferometric L-band radiometer operating at 1.4 GHz (21 cm wavelength), with 69 antenna receivers distributed on a Y-shaped deployable antenna array and central hub.

Mass: 658 kg (platform: 275 kg, payload: 355 kg, fuel: 28 kg)

Power: deployable solar panels with Si-cells, Li-ion battery.  Maximum power available for satellite: 1065 W, maximum consumption for MIRAS payload: 511 W

Orbit:mean altitude of 758 km and inclination of 98.44°; Sun-synchronous, quasi-circular, dusk-dawn, 23-day repeat cycle, 3-day sub-cycle

Mission control: via the CNES French space agency's ground station in Toulouse, France. S-band uplink and downlink for satellite health and housekeeping data and telecommanding through ground station network in Kiruna (Sweden), Aussaguel (France) and Kourou (French Guiana)

Data processing: Data Processing Centre at ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca, Spain; long-term archive at Kiruna; User Services via ESA’s Centre for Earth Observation (ESRIN) in Frascati, Italy

Nominal life: three years (including a six-month commissioning phase). Extended to 2017

Project:mission development and commissioning managed at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.  This involved more than 20 European companies and hundreds of technicians and engineers around Europe.

Prime contractors: Spain’s EADS CASA Espacio for the MIRAS instrument. Thales Alenia Space Industries (France) and CNES were responsible for the Proteus platform.

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