Thursday, November 08, 2018

Canada's "Signature" Contribution to GOSAT-2

          By Chuck Black

ABB Canada is very proud of its involvement with GOSAT-2, our tenth optical system currently in orbit" according to Quebec PQ based ABB Canada Space and Defense systems director Marc-Andre Soucy, who talked with this blog on Thursday morning.

The TANSO-FTS, also known as the GOSAT interferometer subsystem. According to ABB datasheet (DS/TANSO–EN Rev. A),  the TANSO-FTS consists of tree modules: an opto-mechanical (OM) module and two remote control electronics modules. The OM module is inspired by the Canadian Space Agency's Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) which was launched on SCISAT-1, a Canadian satellite launched in August 2003. SCISAT-1 is still in operation and expected to remain operational until 2021, according to the July 27th, 2018 Canadian Space Agency (CSA) update to its SCISAT webpage. Photo c/o ABB.

Soucy and company have reason to be proud of their contribution to the second Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT-2), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) next generation satellite designed to monitor greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere.

Under a contract from Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, ABB designed, built and tested one of one of two instruments aboard GOSAT-2, the thermal and near infrared sensor for carbon observation – Fourier transform spectrometer (TANSO-FTS), the core sub-system of the FTS instrument. The main purpose of the TANSO-FTS is to measure spectra of reflected and emitted radiance that will be used to determine the total column amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (NH4).

But the current success, at least according to Soucy, is heavily dependent on the long-term support of the Canadian government in the form of appropriate research and development programs and for "flight heritage" which demonstrates capabilities and help ABB and others to break into tough international markets, where people often prefer to buy locally.

Soucy said that, without the support of the Canadian government over the last twenty years, ABB would not have had the legacy flight hardware to export these optical technologies.
Exporting optical technologies is challenging as optical instruments are often highly customized to meet the specific needs of a mission. Given the high level of customization of optical sensors, few companies succeed in maintaining a sufficiently strong competitive edge. 
On government programs, there is a natural preference to procure from domestic suppliers:  a strong competitive edge is therefore vital to succeed in exports 
Marc-Andre Soucy. Photo c/o ABB
On risk-averse large space programs, you cannot export with only breadboards and nice viewgraphs:  you need flight heritage.  
Soucy is concerned that very few optical instruments were developed and flown by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in the last decade. He feels that this may begin impacting Canadian space industry exports in the near future.

ABB Canada also contributed an earlier generation TANSO-FTS to the first GOSAT-1, which launched in January 2009, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan.

GOSAT-1 is generally considered to be the world's first satellite dedicated to greenhouse gas monitoring, and is still in operation.

But time marches on and improvements build over time.

As outlined in the November 6th, 2018 ABB press release, "ABB optical technology launched aboard GOSAT-2 Japanese satellite," the new satellite "is expected to double greenhouse gas readings per day over its GOSAT-1 predecessor."

According to Soucy:
GOSAT-2 relies on the heritage of GOSAT-1, a highly successful satellite in orbit since 2009, and GOSAT-1 relies on heritage developed through previous projects, including Canada's SCISAT, which was launched in 2003. 
The current generation TANSO-TFS used on GOSAT-2 is essentially a signature Canadian technology which we've developed domestically over the last four decades and now offer to the world. 
In fact, ABB has provided technologies for the Japanese space program for over 20 years, and contributed to several other high profile space missions including the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Soumi NPP), the Meteosat series of satellites, the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometers (IASI) being used on a variety of European Union (EU) satellites and quite a number of others.
But we've also learned from our previous efforts. Approximately thirty people are currently on the project and over one hundred have contributed over the years to the GOSAT program.

GOSAT-2 graphic. The details of the GOSAT-2 mission are outlined online in the Earth Observation Portal (EOPortal) Directory under the title "GOSAT-2 (Greenhouse gases Observing Satellite-2) / Ibuki-2." Graphic c/o Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

GOSAT-2 (also known to the Japanese as Ibuki-2) was launched on October 29th, 2018 on the Japanese H-IIA launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan.

"With our technologies, we are helping to contribute to a better understanding of our planet, helping to overcome climate change challenges and creating important high value careers for our employees,” said Soucy.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page