Contract secures build for HydroGNSS Scout mission

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 08:50:00 GMT
ESA Observing the Earth

Today, as Φ-week gets underway, ESA has signed a contract with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd to...

Today, as Φ-week gets underway, ESA has signed a contract with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd to build the HydroGNSS Scout mission.

Embracing the concept of New Space, HydroGNSS is a micro satellite that will use a technique called Global Navigation Satellite System reflectometry to measure climate variables such as soil moisture, freeze-thaw state over permafrost and inundation.

Complementing ESA's series of Earth Explorer research missions, Scout missions are a new element in ESA's Earth Observation FutureEO Programme.

The aim is to demonstrate the capability of small satellites to deliver value-added science, either by the miniaturisation of existing technologies or by demonstrating new sensing techniques.

A Scout mission consists of one or several small satellites that can rapidly prototype and demonstrate novel ways of observing Earth from space.

Adopting this agile New Space development process, the goal is to implement a Scout mission, from kick-off to launch, within three years, and for a maximum of €30 million.

"We are extremely happy to sign this contract today with Surrey Satellite Technology and look forward to this novel new mission becoming a reality."

"Jean-Pascal Lejault, ESA's Project Manager for the Scout missions, added,"HydroGNSS will use GNSS reflectometry for observations of essential climate variables relevant to the hydrological cycle.

"Compared to previous GNSS reflectometry missions, HydroGNSS is unique in that it will have new capabilities and features with dual polarisation, coherent channels and dual-frequency, enabling high coverage and resolution. It will complement other missions sensing soil moisture such as ESA's SMOS and Biomass, Copernicus Sentinel-1 and NASA's SMAP.".

Phil Brownnett commented "We are very pleased to secure a contract with ESA for our HydroGNSS satellite which combines a low-cost small satellite with an innovative GNSS reflectometry payload, helping to tackle the global challenge of climate change and delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals by providing valuable hydrological data. This key climate variable data will help scientists understand climate change and contribute towards weather modelling, ecology mapping, agricultural planning and flood preparedness."