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ESA choses Harmony for its next Earth Explorer mission

Sentinel-1. Image: ESA

Paris, 24 February 2021. – Harmony is on its way: The European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen the Harmony satellite concept to move forward with its tenth scientific Earth Explorer mission.

Harmony is conceived as a mission with two satellites that orbit in formation with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites to address key scientific questions related to the ocean, ice and land dynamics, ESA said.

Three concepts – Daedalus, Harmony (formerly Stereoid) and Hydroterra (formerly G-Class) – were under review since 2018 to scrutinize their scientific, technical and budgetary feasibility, the agency said.

Harmony comprises two identical satellites that would fly in convoy with a Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. Each satellite is to carry a receive-only synthetic aperture radar as its main instrument. Working with Sentinel-1, the two Harmony’s would provide data to measure small shifts in the shape of the land surface and of glaciers. They would also carry a multibeam thermal-infrared instrument to measure cloud movements and the sea-surface and would provide simultaneous measurements of wind, waves, and currents, ESA said.

Technically, Harmony enables unique measurements over timescales ranging from tens of milliseconds (to measure ocean currents) to years (to measure solid Earth surface motion).

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