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ORA - Occultation Radiometer

EURECA is one of the few unmanned space vehicles that have been returned to the Earth unharmed. EURECA contained 15 experiments, from which the Occultation Radiometer (ORA) was one.

OIP, as a subcontractor to BIRA-IASB, designed, developed and manufactured the optical sub-assembly of ORA, an instrument designed to measure aerosol and trace gas densities in the earth’s atmosphere through a solar occultation technique in the Near IR, the visible and near UV spectral ranges.

Wavelength: 250 – 1100nm.

 

Instrument

ORA is a radiometer, part of EURECA’s science panel, developed to measure ozone, NO2, aerosols and water vapor by means of the occultation technique in the near infrared, visible and near UV part of the solar spectrum. It also contained an infrared module for the measurement of water vapor in the upper atmosphere.
The UV-visible unit contains 8 modules, each dedicated to a different wavelength. The infrared instrument has 2 optical channels, one for the measurement of water vapor and the other for carbon dioxide.

Keywords

Solution: Spectrometer (subassy)

Type: Panchromatic

Application field: Earth Observation

Mission: EURECA

Life: Mission completed

EURECA EURECA Archimedes said …

Eureca (European Retrievable Carrier) is one of the few unmanned space vehicles that have been returned to the Earth unharmed. EURECA contained 15 experiments, from which the Occultation Radiometer (ORA) was one of the 3 science experiments.

 

Occultation radiometer onboard Europe’s first reusable satellite

 

ORA is a radiometer developed to measure ozone, NO2, aerosols and water vapor by means of the occultation technique in the near infrared, visible and near UV part of the solar spectrum.

Mission

Eureca was designed to carry a mix of experiments totaling up to 1 tonne for 6-9 months in orbit, released and retrieved by NASA’s Space Shuttle. It was the world’s first free-flyer designed specifically to satisfy microgravity experiments, providing 10-5 g conditions for long periods.
Although Eureca was controlled from ESOC in Germany, it could operate autonomously for up to 48 h. An important feature was reusability: Eureca was capable of making five flights over a 10-year period.

OIP’s Participation

OIP, as a subcontractor to Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA), designed, developed and manufactured the optical sub-assembly of ORA.

IASB-BIRA was responsible for the mechanical structure and the UV-visible unit. Furthermore, the electronics unit and the associated software were designed and developed entirely by IASB-BIRA. Finally, IASB-BIRA was also responsible for the qualification of the flight model and the management of the project.

Status

EURECA-1 and its 15 experiments were launched aboard Shuttle mission STS-46 in July 31st, 1992 and released from the Shuttle’s robot arm by ESA Mission Specialist Claude Nicollier on August 2nd, 1992.
EURECA-1 was retrieved on July 1st, 1993 by the Space Shuttle Endeavor and returned to Earth on Cape Canaveral at Kennedy Space Center

ORA retired after successful mission.

 

Partners

The ORA project was a realization by different partners: BIRA-IASB (Uccle, Belgium), University of Oxford (UK), LMS, SABCA (Belgium), ETCA (Charleroi, Belgium) for the European Space Agency.

OIP was a subcontractor to BIRA-IASB.

 

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