ABB in space

ABB has won a $10 million contract to supply the main component for a new satellite that will enable the Japanese government to study and measure greenhouse gases.

The contract is with NEC Toshiba Space Systems, the primary equipment supplier to Japan‘s Greenhouse Gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) program.

GOSAT is being jointly developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the National Institute for Environmental Studies, and Japan‘s Ministry of Environment.

For its part, ABB will supply the Michelson interferometer of the Fourier Transform Spectrometer, a system that will collect and transmit – up to 30 times daily – precise atmospheric measurements from 650 kilometres above the earth.

The measurements will be used to chart and evaluate the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide and methane levels. GOSAT is the first mission to measure global CO2 assessments and has the ambitious task of measuring the annual variations of CO2 in the range of 0.3%.

The interferometer is being supplied by ABB Analytical’s Remote Sensing business based in Quebec City in Canada.

The interferometer design is based around an ABB system design currently in operation on a satellite launched in 2003 by the Canadian Space Agency. That satellite, named ACE/SciSat-1, is studying the chemistry of the ozone layer.

The new Japanese satellite will be launched by JAXA in 2008.