ESA contract signed to build Europe’s carbon dioxide monitoring mission


With a contract secured worth €445 million, OHB will lead the industrial consortium to start building the two satellites.

As the main contractor, OHB is responsible overall, and is also developing the satellite platforms. As the main sub-contractor, Thales Alenia Space will supply the instruments: the near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer that will measure emissions of carbon dioxide.

Importantly, the mission will be the first to measure how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere specifically through human activity.

Although measurements on the ground have made it possible to track general changes in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, it is not possible to make reliable statements about anthropogenic emissions from individual countries or even individual regions and cities. The new space-based measurements will also allow globally comparable data.

The Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission, or CO2M for short, aims to close this gap.

In turn, data gathered by CO2M will be used to help track and implement targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, said, “We are thrilled to have the contract signed so that OHB can move forward developing the mission. Climate change is clearly something we are all very concerned about, and the CO2M mission is destined to be a game changer in monitoring emissions so that key information is available for policy-making.”

CEO of the OHB Group, Marco Fuchs, stressed, “The task of implementing the CO2M mission as prime contractor makes me very proud. The question of how the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will develop in the coming decades will also determine the fate of the global climate.”

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