UK’s TRUTHS satellite mission finds place in ESA’s Earth Watch programme

TRUTHS satellite missionImage: The UK Space Agency believes the the TRUTHS satellite mission to improve confidence in climate change forecasts. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.

The UK Space Agency said that the Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies satellite mission (TRUTHS satellite mission) proposed by it has been added to the Earth Watch programme of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Conceived by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the TRUTHS satellite mission will increase confidence in climate change forecasts, claimed the UK Space Agency. The new satellite mission is expected to achieve this by developing a ‘climate and calibration laboratory in space’ and by taking benchmark measurements, against which trends in climate change can be quickly detected.

Furthermore, the TRUTHS satellite mission also gives scope for rigorous re-calibration in space of other satellites like the ones hovering in Copernicus or emerging constellations. The new satellite from the UK is expected to remove biases and enable a ‘climate quality’ earth observing system that is globally interoperable, said the space agency.

UK Science Minister and Climate Change interim Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Space technologies and satellite applications are key green technologies that allow us to observe the Earth and record changes to our climate. This new mission will allow scientists to more accurately calculate the energy absorbed and reflected by the Earth over a much shorter timescale than is currently possible.”

The spacecraft in the TRUTHS satellite mission will be equipped with a hyperspectral imager to measure incoming radiation from the Sun and also radiation reflected back from the Earth in fine spectral detail. It will also feature an on-board calibration system developed by NPL, which is traceable to the SI (International System of Units) to help in unpresented level of accuracy.

NPL Earth observation, Climate and Optical group lead and TRUTHS satellite mission principal investigator Nigel Fox said: “TRUTHS will allow us to take ‘NPL into orbit’, mimicking in space what we do in our Teddington laboratories.

“Delivering a ten-fold improvement in measurement uncertainty not only for TRUTHS’ data but that of the World’s earth observing system as a whole.”

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