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The Italian company will develop the technology to power and control the hyperspectral instrument of the CHIME satellite, part of the important European Earth Observation programme “Copernicus”

Copernicus CHIME Image Credits: ESA

Mola di Bari June 9th, 2021- SITAEL, a leading Italian Space company in the field of small satellites, space propulsion and avionics, has signed a contract with the German OHB System AG, Payload contractor of the earth hyperspectral observation mission CHIME (Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission). The CHIME mission, developed by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, is part of the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component programme of the European Space Agency, ESA, in partnership with the European Commission. The European Copernicus flagship programme provides Earth observation and in situ data and a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

The CHIME mission will carry a unique visible to shortwave infrared spectrometer to provide routine hyperspectral observations to support new and enhanced services for food security, agricultural and biodiversity management, as well as soil property characterization, sustainable mining practices and environment preservation. The mission, whose instantaneous swath is 128km, will complement Copernicus Sentinel-2 for applications such as land-cover mapping.

Specifically, SITAEL will design and develop one the key elements of the hyperspectral instrument: the advanced power supply and control unit (IPU – Instrument Power Unit), which will be responsible for powering and controlling the several mechanisms essential for the instrument operations, controlling in addition its temperature stability.

We are proud to confirm SITAEL participation to Copernicus program” – underlines Chiara Pertosa, President of SITAEL – We have already been involved in the past, with key supplies for the Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 3 satellites. With this new activity, we confirm SITAEL’s positioning as a reference company in the Italian space ecosystem for supplying technology for ambitious missions, such as Copernicus.”

CHIME will operate at about 600 km from the Earth’s surface: the IPU electronics have been designed to withstand space vacuum and low temperatures, as well as the strong radiations, moreover, its redundant architecture will ensure total reliability.

“The new Copernicus CHIME mission – said Rüdiger Schönfeld, Director Earth Observation Systems at OHB System AGwill help to meet future challenges such as food security in view of climate change. In this context, the CHIME mission benefits from the knowledge accumulated at OHB as part of the EnMAP project.”

The contribution to the CHIME hyperspectral mission confirms SITAEL’s thirty-year leadership in the Hi-Rel electronics development for space application. SITAEL technologies are on board of the most important space science missions (Integral, AMS02, ExoMars, GAIA, JUICE) and for earth observation (Copernicus, EathCARE, Swarm). Earth observation is also the field of action for the “PLATINO” satellites of the Italian Space Agency, in which SITAEL leads a complete Italian team for a multi-mission all electric platform.

Funded by the EU and ESA

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