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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

MERLIN: overview of the design status of the lidar Instrument
Author(s): Christian Wührer; Christopher Kühl; Stefano Lucarelli; M. Bode

Paper Abstract

The Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission (MERLIN) is a joint French-German cooperation on the development, launch and operation of a climate monitoring satellite, executed by the French Space Agency CNES and the German DLR Space Administration. It is focused on global measurements of the spatial and temporal gradients of atmospheric Methane (CH4) with a precision and accuracy sufficient to constrain Methane fluxes significantly better than with the current observation network.

Merlin is a LIDAR Instrument using the IPDA principle. This instrument principle relies on the different absorption of the laser signal by atmospheric Methane at two laser wavelengths – on-line and off-line – both around 1.645 μm, reflected by the Earth surface or by cloud tops. The attenuation is strong at the on-line wavelength; the off-line “reference” wavelength is selected to be only marginally affected by Methane absorption. Being an active instrument with its own light source, the MERLIN LIDAR Instrument does not have to rely on sun illumination of the observed areas and can therefore continuously operate over the orbit.

Airbus DS GmbH was selected by the German DLR Space Administration as the industrial Prime Contractor for the Mission Phase C/D, to build the MERLIN Payload, which is the first realization of such an instrument for space in Europe.

This presentation will concentrate on the Architecture and the Design of the MERLIN Payload developed during the ongoing Mission Phase C. Further details of the instrument development status will be shown by an overview of the current hardware and design status of the major subsystems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 1118028 (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2535999
Show Author Affiliations
Christian Wührer, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany)
Christopher Kühl, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany)
Stefano Lucarelli, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany)
M. Bode, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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