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The current suite of Sentinel missions are at the heart of the Copernicus programme, led by the European Commission. Data from the Copernicus Sentinels, which are developed by ESA, feed into the Copernicus Services, which help address challenges such as urbanisation, food security, rising sea levels, diminishing polar ice, natural disasters and, of course, climate change. 

The aim of the Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometry (CIMR) Mission is to provide high-spatial resolution microwave imaging radiometry measurements and derived products with global coverage and sub-daily revisit in the Polar regions to address Copernicus user needs and the EU Integrates Policy for the Arctic. 

The Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer, CIMR, mission will carry a wide-swath conically-scanning multi-frequency microwave radiometer to provide observations of sea-surface temperature, sea-ice concentration and sea-surface salinity. Uniquely, it will also observe a wide range of other sea-ice parameters. CIMR responds to high-priority requirements from key Arctic user communities.




According to Risto Huusko (left), the RF designer for the research project, the most challenging part was making the device to meet the customer's requirements based solely on theoretical analysis and simulations.

- The calibration device is the first of its kind. In  design and development as well as in production, we had to rely on an artificially modelled world. And just as challenging as making the prototype was building the test environment and measurement equipment.

The tests generated measurement results every 15 seconds for 30 parameters during a testing and validation period of one month. This  means amounts to relatively large quantity of data to analyse. What motivated the project was the option that the research and prototyping might be followed by the production of an actual satellite instrument, which would involve much more work and testing.

- This is be a unique project, as it will be the first time in history that a calibration device of this kind will be launched into space. 




A radiometer is an instrument used to detect temperature by non-contact measurement. The thermal radiation of the object to be measured causes radio-frequency radiation, which is measured by a sensitive receiver. The calibration equipment is used to electronically generate the desired thermal radiation with high accuracy, which is used as a reference for measurements.



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