1/07/2017: Following successful completion of the the instrument and satellite preliminary design reviews (PDR), and confirmation of funding for phases C, D and E1 by the French government, the project received the go-ahead to move to phase C.
12/08/2015: French government announces through a press release endorsed by the Ministry of Ecology, sustainable development, and energy, the go-ahead for the programme with funding for the first phase from the PIA future investment plan.
This announcement was made during the COP 21 conference, in Paris.
05/2015: CoSpace, government-industry space coordination committee, takes the initiative of submitting proposal to French government for the development of the MicroCarb mission designed to:
- Meet scientific expectations regarding new insights into the mechanisms of CO2 exchange and how they evolve
- Assure continuity of global measurements
- Pave the way for future operational missions
2014: CNES proceeds with technical studies to define an even more compact instrument compatible with a micro satellite of less than 200 kg built around CNES' Myriade spacecraft bus.
This goal is reached by reducing the number of detectors using a device capable of multiplexing several bands on a single detector.
This evolution of the concept is implemented on an optical model of the instrument to verify planned results by analyses.
2013: Completion of studies at satellite and instrument levels by the two industrial primes Airbus Defence & Space and Thales Alenia Space, as well as studies at system level conducted by CNES.
12/2013: Conclusions of Phase A work are submitted to a review board (Preliminary Requirements Review), which confirmed the technical feasibility of the project within the technical constraints and in compliance with performance requirements.
09/20-09/21/2011: Selection of MicroCarb instrument concept
CNES started in June 2010 technical and scientific studies to demonstrate the feasibility of the MicroCarb mission. One of the main objectives of this Phase A was to select the best instrument concept - a grating spectrometer vs. a static Fourier transform interferometer - to fulfil the mission requirements.
Comparison activities of the two concepts were conducted by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space from February 2011 to September 2011.
One of the main outputs of this first phase was to propose a payload definition fulfilling mission requirements and compatible with a CNES Myriade Evolution microsatellite bus.
A MicroCarb Mission Key Point held meeting on 20 and 21 September 2011 allowed CNES to confirm concept instrument selection. 40 people from CNES and the MicroCarb science team from different laboratories (LSCE, LPMAA, LMD) with the PI F.M. Bréon from LSCE took part in the meeting.
The instrument concept was selected on the basis of:
- instrument and satellite industry studies
- level 2 (CO2 concentration) performances evaluation based on CNES inversion results performed for each concept configuration
- evaluation of the different spectral bands' contribution to the accuracy of CO2 inversion algorithms
The choice was also made in close cooperation with the mission science team and driven by comparison for each concept of estimated performance on continental and oceanic surface flux retrievals.
A grating spectrometer instrument concept with 3 spectral bands (0.76 µm, 1.6 µm and 2.0 µm) has been formally selected for the MicroCarb mission.
A consolidation phase at satellite and instrument level on the selected concept will now start in October 2011, working towards a preliminary design definition and associated performance budget in 2012. Some technological validation activities on some subsystems (grating, scrambler) critical to performance will also be performed.
02/2011: Beginning of satellite industrial studies and comparison of instrument concepts
The consultation process completed end 2010 by CNES for satellite and instrument concept studies led to the selection of two contractors that submitted proposals, i.e. Astrium and Thales Alenia Space. This request for proposals followed a call for applications in the European Union "Journal Officiel", which selected two prime contractors for the FRP phase.
The kick-off meetings with the two contractors took place in February 2011. These meetings enabled CNES to present the lastest updates of the satellite and the two instrument concept requirements. The comparison of the two concept - static Fourier transform interferometry versus scattering grating spectrometer - will be covered by the first part of phase A.
02/01/2011: Constitution and first meeting of the mission group
The first meeting of the MicroCarb Mission Group took place at CNES headquarters on 1 February 2011 and formalized the constitution of the Mission Group with representatives from different laboratories: LSCE, LPMAA, CESBIO, etc. around the PI F.M. Bréon from LSCE.
One of the meeting's objectives was for CNES to present the general programmatic context of the mission as well as the project advancement status. Discussions also covered the definition of the scientific studies needed in 2011 and 2012, in parallel with the instrument development, for a better definition of the mission.
01/27/2011: MicroCarb/OCO/A-Train meeting
Meetings with NASA's OCO-2 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) mission team to measure CO2 took place on 26 and 27 January 2011. OCO-2 is under development and is scheduled to replace, in 2013, the OCO satellite that was lost on launch in February 2009. These fruitful exchanges for MicroCarb, thanks to the experience acquired by the OCO-2 team, were very useful to understand the issues relative to the scattering grating instrument concept. These interesting discussions also concerned calibration activities and CO2 retrieval algorithms.
These exchanges took place during the operations coordination meetings between the agencies involved in the Afternoon–Train or A-Train: NASA, NOAA, JAXA, CNES, etc. OCO2, one of the next missions to join the A-Train, was in charge of hosting and organizing these meetings in Pasadena (Los Angeles). Attending these inter-agency coordination meetings gave MicroCarb the opportunity to confirm our interest in joining the A-Train due to synergies with the other missions studying the atmosphere.