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属于欧盟的哥白尼地球观测项目。该方案发射一系列被称为 "哨兵 "的卫星传感器,这些传感器监测由地震造成的损害到主要粮食作物的健康状况等各种情况。

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.

没有人对不同哨兵的重要程度进行排名,但考虑到气候危机的紧迫性,"CO2M将成为哥白尼的灯塔,是其最引人注目的任务",OHB-System公司的CEO Marco Fuchs告诉BBC新闻。

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个 "哨兵 "卫星已经在轨,或者即将在轨。CO2M是扩展的一部分,哥白尼项目空间部分的规模将扩大一倍。

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:

欧盟 "哥白尼 "方案中现有的 "哨兵 "卫星系统有:

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