Didier Fussen, Emmanuel Dekemper, Quentin Errera, Ghislain Franssens, Nina Mateshvili, Didier Pieroux, and Filip Vanhellemont
Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, 3, avenue Circulaire, B1180 Brussels, Belgium
Received: 21 Jun 2016 – Accepted for review: 01 Aug 2016 – Discussion started: 03 Aug 2016
Abstract. This article outlines the objectives, concept and expected performance of the ALTIUS (Atmospheric Limb Tracker for the Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere) mission in view of the continuation of earth limb measurements for atmospheric science. This type of measurement became rare with the failure of the European ENVISAT mission in 2012 and the number will further decrease when several Canadian, Swedish and US limb missions will terminate within the next few years. The project is presented in the frame of a small mission initiative based on a micro-satellite platform of the PROBA (Project for On-Board Autonomy) class, with a high agility allowing for atmospheric limb observations in different remote sensing geometries from a low earth orbit. The instrument consists of three independent spectral imagers covering the UV-Vis-NIR ranges.
Recently, the ALTIUS mission has been declared as an element compliant to the ESA Earth Watch programme.
The paper identifies the general scientific context of the project and derives the mission, instrument and scientific products requirements. The general design of the payload and platform systems is discussed. The preliminary data processing chain is presented, from telemetry data to retrieved geophysical profiles, with a complementary data assimilation level. A preliminary assessment of the mission performance is discussed with focus on ozone profile retrievals, which are the main objective of the mission.
Fussen, D., Dekemper, E., Errera, Q., Franssens, G., Mateshvili, N., Pieroux, D., and Vanhellemont, F.: The ALTIUS mission, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-213, 2016.