German manufacturer OHB-System has signed a €445m (£400m) contract to begin construction of a satellite network to monitor carbon dioxide.


The CO2M constellation will consist in the first instance of two spacecraft, but there is an option for a third.


The platforms will track the greenhouse gas across the globe, helping nations assess the scale of their emissions.


Under the Paris climate accord, countries must compile CO2 inventories. CO2M will provide supporting data.


The aim is to launch the OHB spacecraft in 2025 so they can inform the international stocktake that will report in 2028.


CO2M falls under the European unx''s Copernicus Earth observation programme. This flies a series of satellite sensors called Sentinels, which monitor everything from damage wrought by earthquakes to the health of staple food crops.

CO2M屬于歐盟的哥白尼地球觀測項目。該方案發射一系列被稱為 "哨兵 "的衛星傳感器,這些傳感器監測由地震造成的損害到主要糧食作物的健康狀況等各種情況。

When the CO2M spacecraft go into orbit, they too will assume the Sentinel moniker.


No-one draws a distinction between the importance of the different Sentinels but given the urgency of the climate crisis, "CO2M will be the beacon of Copernicus, its most visible mission", Marco Fuchs, the CEO of OHB-System, told BBC News.

沒有人對不同哨兵的重要程度進行排名,但考慮到氣候危機的緊迫性,"CO2M將成為哥白尼的燈塔,是其最引人注目的任務",OHB-System公司的CEO Marco Fuchs告訴BBC新聞。

His company''s contract is with the European Space Agency (Esa), which acts as the technical and procurement agent for the EU on Copernicus.


The satellites will carry a CO2 instrument, obviously, but a range of secondary sensors also to help with the signal''s retri and to differentiate the human-produced sources of the gas from those emitted by natural processes.


Franco-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space has been engaged as a key sub-contractor. Its French division will deliver a combined carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide spectrometer that operates in near- and shortwave-infrared bands.


TAS''s UK arm will build a multi-angle polarimeter; and the Belgian company OIP Sensors will make a cloud imager.


There are currently six Sentinel satellite systems either already in orbit, or soon to be in orbit. CO2M is part of an expansion that would see the Copernicus space component double in size.

目前有6個 "哨兵 "衛星已經在軌,或者即將在軌。CO2M是擴展的一部分,哥白尼項目空間部分的規模將擴大一倍。

How soon this advance in capability can be achieved is uncertain, however.


The leaders of the EU''s 27 member states recently agreed a downgrading of the proposed Copernicus budget in the next financial period (2021-2027) from €5.8bn to €4.8bn.


If this budget envelope is implemented, it will impact the roll-out of the expansion Sentinels.


Indeed, the fact that OHB is only being asked to build two spacecraft for the moment - and not all three - is a reflection of the current financial realities.


But even with these extra sources of finance, there will be a shortfall in the funding needed to implement the full Copernicus expansion in a timely fashion.


The other five missions in the planned expansion are:


LSTM: A thermal infrared sensor to measure land-surface temperature. Again, useful in agriculture and to predict drought. Airbus, Spain.


ROSE-L: An L-band radar which can also observe ice but many other targets as well, including forests and soils. TAS, Italy.


CIMR: A microwave radiometer to measure sea-surface temperature and salinity, and sea-ice concentration. TAS, Italy.


The existing Sentinel satellite systems in the EU''s Copernicus programme are:

歐盟 "哥白尼 "方案中現有的 "哨兵 "衛星系統有:

Sentinel-1: Radar satellite that can see the Earth''s surface in all weathers


Sentinel-2: Multi-wavelength detectors to study principally land changes


Sentinel-3: Multiple sensors tuned to observe ocean properties and behaviour


Sentinel-4: Future high-orbiting sensor to measure atmospheric gases


Sentinel-5: Low-orbiting atmospheric sensor to help monitor air quality