Canada will support a NASA-led Earth science programme with a satellite and instrumentation.

In Washington On October 18, the Canadian government declared that it will support the creation of a satellite and associated sensors for a NASA-led Earth science programme.

Canada to Contribute Satellite and Instruments to NASA-led Earth Science Mission

The government has agreed to spend more than $200 million Canadian ($145 million) on High-altitude Aerosols, Water vapour and Clouds (HAWC), a component of NASA’s proposed Atmosphere Observing System (AOS) mission, according to François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in a speech in Ottawa.

Two instruments on a Canadian spacecraft and a third instrument on a NASA satellite would make up HAWC. In 2031, both spacecraft would be put into orbit. With launches beginning in 2028, the complete AOS system will include at least four satellites in polar and inclined orbits. The French space agency CNES and the Japanese space agency JAXA are also contributing, in addition to the Canadian contribution.

According to Champagne, “Canada has always played a significant role in international space initiatives, aiding in finding solutions to global concerns. “Today’s announcement of more than $200 million builds on those results with our involvement in NASA’s AOS programme.”

Canada to Contribute Satellite and Instruments to NASA-led Earth Science Mission

AOS is a component of the Earth System Observatory, a broad group of missions created to carry out the suggestions of the most recent Earth science decadal survey, which was published at the beginning of 2018. Two of the five “targeted observables” from that report—atmosphere and clouds, convection, and precipitation—would be supported by the AOS series of satellites.

At a meeting of the Space Studies Board’s Committee on Earth Sciences and Applications from Space on October 18, Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth science division, referred to the Earth System Observatory as “more than a collection of five projects.” It truly speaks to developing a more comprehensive understanding of the Earth.

This summer, three Earth System Observatory missions, including AOS, finished mission concept evaluations. Later this fall, they are anticipated to pass Key Decision Point (KDP) A, she said. The missions would then be able to enter Phase A of initial development.

Canada to Contribute Satellite and Instruments to NASA-led Earth Science Mission

While AOS and other missions were finishing up their concept reviews, NASA carried out a separate assessment of the entire Earth System Observatory. She explained that the objective of that impartial assessment was to “truly look across the whole thing and see if we missed anything” in the process of formulating it. She stated that the agency had received the preliminary review findings and will be incorporating them into the missions prior to KDP-A.

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