Successful thermal tests for air quality monitoring instrument STM
02 Aug 2018



This week we said goodbye to the Sentinel-5 Structural Thermal Model (STM), which has successfully completed thermal tests in our 3m thermal vacuum chamber.


​​​​​​Sentinel 5 STM loaded on the lorry for delivery

Credit: STFC RAL Space

The successful tests mean that the Sentinel-5 STM instrument will be delivered for integration onto the MetOp-SG satellite STM for spacecraft level validation tests.

The Sentinel-5 Structural Thermal Model is built to validate the mechanical and thermal design and to test under conditions representative of those the instrument will encounter in orbit. RAL Space provided the test services to Airbus DS GmbH, the prime contractor for the instrument, throughout this very important stage in instrument development, at our world-class space test facility on the Harwell Campus.

Sentinel-5 is part of an ESA/EU family of Earth observation missions for the Copernicus programme. It will be one of six payloads on-board the MetOp-SG A satellite. MetOp-SG is a collaborative programme between ESA and EUMETSAT.

Once in orbit Sentinel-5 will monitor trace gas concentrations and aerosols in the atmosphere. This helps near-real time air-quality monitoring. It will work alongside the other instruments on board to provide information to improve weather forecasts and to better understand the climate. RAL Space is also calibrating the Microwave Sounder (MWS) instrument which will also fly on board MetOp-SG-A, to provide atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles.

RAL Space is involved in many of the Sentinel missions. We provided calibration for the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) for Sentinel-3, ensuring continuity of accurate data for climate scientists. Sentinel-4, like Sentinel-5, will complete major mission milestones in Harwell with thermal vacuum testing at our industry leading facilities. All the Sentinel data is made available to the environmental science community through our supercomputer and data store, JASMIN​.

Sentinel 5 STM in the thermal vacuum chamber at RAL Space. Credit: Airbus DS