The aim is that the sensors will improve scientifc understanding of upper atmospheric dynamics and drive advances in climate modelling, weather forecasting and satellite orbit prediction.
The company is collaborating with both STFC RALSpace and University of Birmingham.
Teledyne e2v writes:
The Earth’s upper atmosphere is a highly active region that plays a key role in the planet’s energy transfer, influencing climate and weather. Understanding the dynamics of the Earth’s upper atmosphere will rely on extremely sensitive measurement of the forces acting on a specially designed satellite as it passes through the rarefied atmosphere of Very Low Earth Orbit.
The new accelerometers are based on an area of quantum technology that uses alkali atoms, which are cooled by lasers close to absolute zero, without the use of cryogenics.
The project will build on Teledyne e2v’s previous work to build the CASPA CubeSat, which demonstrated a cold atom trap and represents a step toward using cold atoms for space applications.
Teledyne e2v’s proposal for the space-based instrument was selected through open competition for the 13th Earth Observation (EO) Technology Call, run by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), which is a partnership of Airbus Ltd, QinetiQ Ltd, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and University of Leicester.
You can read more about the UK’s National Quantum Technology Programme here.
Image: Teledyne e2v CASPA Demonstrator