The switching-on of SMOS MIRAS (Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis) instrument, on Tuesday 17 November, marked the completion of the critical launch and early orbit phase activities performed by CNES.
The X band transponder, which transmits the data to the ground station, was switched on, and data have been transmitted to ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), in Villafranca, Spain. The data acquisition and processing systems located at ESAC are also working well, and the first test of the product generation system has been successful.
The image depicts non-calibrated brightness temperature values colour coded from blue (low) to red (high). Although the image content cannot be interpreted at this time, it proves that the instrument is in good shape and the data reception and processing chain are working.
The system commissioning phase activities will continue until January 2010: a formal end of commissioning review will authorize the start of the routine phase.
Engineers are also now evaluating the quality of the downlinked data and concentrating on the calibration of the instrument. Once calibration has been achieved, the first maps of soil moisture and ocean salinity will be released. A end of cal/val review by mid 2010 will authorize distributions of SMOS products to the scientist community.Calibration/Validation devrait ensuite se tenir mi 2010 pour autoriser la distribution aux utilisateurs des produits scientifiques.