Case Study: AATSR Project Management


AATSR undergoes environmental tests to prepare for launch on Envisat

The Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) is an instrument designed primarily to measure sea surface temperature (SST) to an accuracy better than 0.3K. The instrument was funded jointly by the UK (70%) and Australian (30%) governments, whilst the ground segment was funded by the UK and ESA. AATSR is flying on ESA’s Envisat platform, which was launched in 2002 and is expected to operate until 2012.

Exploiting the experience of Space ConneXions staff in managing the procurement of the AATSR instrument and the prototype data processing software from UK industry, in 2004 Defra (now DECC) contracted Space ConneXions to manage the UK components of the AATSR data exploitation activities. The UK activities include:

  • AATSR flight operations support
    (STFC/RAL and Astrium UK)

  • AATSR prototype processor and archive product processor maintenance
    (STFC/RAL)

  • (A)AATSR archive, including data from the ATSR-1, ATSR-2 and AATSR missions
    (SFTC/RAL)

  • the AATSR Principal Investigator and leadership of the AATSR Science Advisory Group
    (University of Leicester)

  • the AATSR Validation Scientist and leadership of the AATSR validation activities
    (University of Leicester)

  • the SST validation campaign using the ISAR instrument on the Cap Finistere ferry
    (University of Southampton / National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

Space ConneXions also supports DECC in maintaining and developing its relationships with its partners in the AATSR programme, including BNSC, NERC, ESA and CSIRO.

In addition to the DECC contracts, Space ConneXions has been contracted by ESA to build on existing ESA, DECC and international initiatives by:

  • managing the development of software and ancillary data for a new SST product (called GHRSTT L2P) in the ESA and DECC ground segments
    (with the University of Leicester and STFC/RAL)

  • producing a requirements document for a new lake temperature product
    (with the Principal Investigator)

  • generating a comprehensive (A)ATSR Exploitation Plan for the further development of the (A)ATSR programme by the international funding partners
    (with the University of Leicester)

The (A)ATSR SST dataset is a key climate variable that feeds into the Met Office Hadley Centre’s climate models. Theses models are used to provide DECC and international organisations such as the IPCC and UNFCCC with scenarios for future climate change.

More information about the AATSR programme can be found on the following web sites:

AATSR Science and Validation website

SST validation using ISAR

AATSR flight operation and engineering data

(A)ATSR archive

SST Measurements at the UK Met Office

AATSR and Envisat

CSIRO Research

For information on the organisations we are working with on the AATSR programme, please follow the links on the Clients and Colleagues page.