OHB-System forging a German-Chinese partnership for the joint development of a satellite constellation

signing MoU between OHB, IRSA and BLMIT
Berry Smutny, center, with Prof. Xingfa Gu, Director General IRSA, and Mrs. Shuang Wu, Director BLMIT, after signing the MoU

CarbonSat Constellation with the objectives:

  • To establish common understanding of the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate change
  • To provide an Independent and transparent global greenhouse gas monitoring system

OHB System AG, a subsidiary of OHB Technology AG (Prime Standard, ISIN: DE0005936124), will be working with the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications (IRSA), Chinese Acadamy of Sciences in Beijing, in the future. A memorandum of understanding to this effect was recently signed by both parties in Beijingwith the aim of developing a global satellite system for measuring the greenhouse gases which are at the root of global warming.

Said Berry Smutny, CEO of OHB-System AG, upon signing the memorandum of understanding: "Environmental protection is a global challenge and only global partnerships are able to achieve the results required to protect the earth. The Chinese involvement in this new German-Chinese partnership shows how seriously both sides are committed to the transparent implementation of the post Kyoto Protocol. This partnership also demonstrates that space technology is playing an instrumental role in environmental protection. This is because global monitoring of CO2 emissions is only possible from space. We hope that other nations will also become involved."

The partnership was triggered by a proposal for a satellite-based global measuring and monitoring system for the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane known as "CarbonSat"-Constellation. This idea is based on the previous research work with the ESA satellite ENVISAT, the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography" (SCIAMACHY) and related Chinese research.

The increase in greenhouse gases is one of the causes of global warming. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the two main greenhouse gases, with CO2 responsible for 60% and methane for 20% of the rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution. However, the results achieved to date indicate that more precise and frequent measurements are required for greater accuracy in modeling the increase in atmospheric temperatures caused by these two gases. 

For this purpose, OHB-System and the Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP) at the University of Bremen working with the support of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and economic development agency Wirschaftsförderung Bremen have devised a new measuring system based on a satellite constellation with enhanced sensors. The concepts and technologies developed are worldwide leading. Consequently, it will now be possible for the first time to collect daily measurements in high local resolution to create a reliable base of data for more accurate forecasts of climatic change as a foundation for political and economic decisions.

The partnership with China for the satellite-based monitoring of greenhouse gases with a view to developing a joint satellite solution is a particularly visible and substantial contribution to implementing the post Kyoto Protocol. In addition, the shared development work will substantially reduce the costs for both sides. 

Using as a basis a German prototype satellite, a German-Chinese satellite constellation is to be assembled to which other nations can contribute further satellites. This system will be open and transparent for all countries, thus providing a globally accepted source of climatic data for the first time.

Implementation of this proposal also poses technological challenges in satellite system technology, the development of optical instruments and data processing in Germany and China.

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Günther Hörbst
Head of Corporate Communications

Manfred-Fuchs-Platz 2-4
28359 Bremen

Phone.: +49 421 2020-9438
Mobile: +49 171 1931041
Email: guenther.hoerbst@ohb.de