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Earth observation, climate and optical

Pre-flight satellite instrumentation calibration

Giving organisations confidence in their instrumentation

Understanding the end-to-end performance of a satellite instrument under operational conditions before it is launched is a critical task for any space mission. NPL has decades of experience in providing specialised transfer standards and developing novel methods and instrumentation to ensure that fit-for-purpose solutions can be optimally employed in clean rooms across the globe.

NPL can provide standards or complete turnkey measurement facilities on both a full supply or lease basis, to ensure the customer has the most cost-effective solution for their project. Our expertise can not only help customers get best use from the facilities, but also help them evaluate the various sources of error and develop an uncertainty budget for their instruments.

Our services can range from a calibration check on an established facility, supply of cryogenically cooled black body standards through to its new STAR-cc-OGSE (Spectroscopically Tuneable Absolute Radiometric, calibration and characterisation Optical Ground Support Equipment). The STAR-cc-OGSE has been developed in partnership with the innovative company, M Squared Lasers, and through one facility, available on a monthly basis, addresses the full range of calibration and characterisation needs of an optical imaging sensor.

The bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) of reference white reflection plaques is of critical importance to the EO community. They are regularly used to convert solar irradiance into radiances for calibration of instrumentation pre- and in-flight. They also commonly provide the reference target for calibration of field instruments. We have two facilities for BRDF calibrations, one laser based and a second using conventional sources. Measurements are routinely made over the spectral range 300 to 2500 nm, with an uncertainty of <0.2 % in the visible. We are also carrying out work to develop improved (stable) reference white diffusers and have recently demonstrated the potential of a new standard material in an experiment for CEOS.

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Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070