Airbus Defence and Space will supply its highest-precision Fiber Optic Gyro Unit (FOG) for a mission led by the American, French, Canadian, and United Kingdom Space agencies, NASA, CNES, CSA, and UKSA, that will launch in 2020 to study Earth’s surface water.
Through a contract recently signed between Airbus Defence and Space and NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the gyro will be integrated at the heart of the KaRIn (Ka-band Radar Interferometer) instrument.
The Astrix® family of Fiber Optic Gyros supplies very high accuracy rotation rate data with extremely low noise, crucial for space systems stabilization, pointing, and attitude control. Developed in cooperation with iXSea, the Astrix® products provide the highest performances on the market. Together with high-reliability, more than 15 years of continuous operation, low power consumption, low mass, quick start and versatile interfaces, they are ideally suited to any space application, from Earth observation to telecommunications satellites.
The Astrix® products have already accumulated flight heritage of one million hour in orbit (as of end 2015) and have been selected by 10 customers worldwide. Airbus Defence and Space continues to develop innovative guidance, navigation and control solutions including the new Astrix®1090 NEO that will provide telecommunications level performance while significantly reducing a satellite’s equipment cost.
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission aims to provide a better understanding of the world's oceans and terrestrial surface waters. U.S., French and Canadian oceanographers and hydrologists, together with international partners, have joined forces to develop this new space mission to carry out the first global survey of Earth's surface water, observe ocean surfaces in fine detail, and measure how bodies of water change over time.
The Astrix®200 gyro will measure the roll parameters, which will enhance the performance of the instruments that measures water surface height, according to Jean-Pierre Domenget, Head of Space Equipment for Airbus Defence and Space. The design does not create thermal or mechanical distortions, which means the Fiber Optic Gyro technology can be integrated directly into the heart of the instrument.