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TNO strengthens cooperation on space technology for earth observation and climate research

22 Dec 2016

TNO signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands B.V. to support the realisation of components for the ESA earth observation mission Sentinel-5. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the Sentinel-5 project and earlier this year TNO was selected for the development and production of the telescope and UV1 spectrometer and calibration of the entire system. In total, the project comprises some hundred and fifty man-years of work. Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands B.V. will participate in the design and the production of these systems, in particular in the field of thermal and electrical engineering and integration.
December 19, 2016 – from right to left: Henri Werij (Director Space) TNO and CEO Arnoud de Jong of Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands sign the TKI contract and the contract for the support of the development of the optical components of the Sentinel -5 satellite

The Sentinel-5 mission aims to provide continuous monitoring of the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. It provides wide-swath, global coverage data to monitor air quality around the world. All over the world meteorological institutes and universities will use the future satellite data for conducting research on climate, air quality and the status of (the hole in) the ozone layer.

Experience with earlier Earth Observation projects

During the past two decades, several predecessors of Sentinel 5 have been realized. Sciamachy, OMI and the still unlaunched Tropomi are all developed under the leadership of Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands. TNO has played an important role in all of these satellite instruments, in particular in the design and production of the optical sub-systems of these spectrometers.

UV1 Spectro Optics, which is active in the ultra-violet spectrum between 270 and 330 nm

Strong Dutch aerospace cluster

"The contracts confirm the good cooperation between TNO and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands in the field of high-tech space technology, a collaboration that dates back to 1992. Along with several smaller industrial companies, we now form a strong Dutch cluster in space technology," said Henri Werij, Director of Space at TNO.
TNO has high expertise and unique facilities, including in the field of optics and opto-mechanics, which European aerospace parties like ESA and Airbus Defence and Space use regularly.

The cooperation of Airbus Defence and Space and TNO also leads to a project supported by the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation of the top sector High Tech Systems and Materials. In order to meet the extreme demands placed on the Sentinel-5 instrument, TNO and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands will develop new technology and design methods together. This project is formalised in a so-called TKI agreement.
This TKI project, to be launched in early 2017, aims on pushing the limits of accuracy and stability for such instruments. Through this project, the knowledge about optical design and system integration of Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands and TNO will be further strengthened and will provide both organizations a strong foundation for the future.

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