Sener to Develop Optical Bench for ESA’s Flex Satellite
Sener has won a contract to develop the optical bench for the main instrument of the European Space Agency (ESA) satellite Flex, an acronym for Fluorescence Explorer. This is the eighth member of the ESA’s Earth Explorer family, scheduled for launch in 2022.
The optical bench or Instrument Optical Module Structure (IOMS) includes the Optical Bench Assembly (OBA), which houses and supports the optical instruments, and the Thermal Hardware (THW), responsible for keeping the module at a controlled temperature. The IOMS also features calibration, decontamination, and survival modes with different thermal requirements.
Sener will carry out the design, manufacture and test of this structure, with the project scheduled to run from 2018 until delivery of the equipment to the client in 2020.
Flex will monitor the health of the Earth’s vegetation, measuring from space the weak fluorescence given off by plants when they convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into organic material, something that has not been possible until now.
Flex will fly in tandem with one of the Sentinel-3 satellites of the Copernicus program, on which Sener has also participated, to make use of its optical and thermal sensors and provide an integrated set of data.