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Earth observation, climate and optical

In-flight satellite calibration and validation

Providing confidence in the accuracy and reliability of satellite sensors in orbit

The harsh environment of space and the rigour of launch makes it essential to validate, and in many cases, update the calibration of satellite sensors in-flight. Even though some sensors have on-board calibrations systems, it remains essential to regularly validate the satellite's measurements against well-calibrated in situ observations.

NPL not only provides standards to ensure that in situ measurements are traceable, our team also visit, characterise and operate test sites ourselves to develop best practice and methods on their use. We operate a woodland site in Oxfordshire, a desert site in Namibia, and support others on the ocean.

Satellite validation needs test sites distributed across the globe, and it is essential that each provides consistent measurements. NPL regularly organises comparisons to ensure that the world's validation communities and associated networks are consistent. We also provide training to help new research groups become established quickly and that they assess uncertainties in a common manner.

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