Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, is to build a satellite that that will measure forest biomass to assess terrestrial carbon stocks and fluxes.
The Biomass satellite is the European Space Agency’s (ESA) next Earth Explorer mission, with a launch scheduled for 2021.
According to Airbus Defence and Space, the spacecraft will carry the first space-borne P-band synthetic aperture radar that will deliver accurate maps of tropical, temperate and boreal forest biomass that cannot be obtained with ground measurement techniques.
The five-year mission will see at least eight growth cycles in the worlds’ forests and during that time the Biomass satellite will collect data on global forests to determine the distribution of aboveground biomass in these forests and measure annual changes.
In a statement, François Auque, head of Space Systems at Airbus, said: “Collecting accurate data on the world’s biomass is key to our understanding of the world’s climate. We are very pleased to help ESA with this mission that will provide key data for scientists and climate scientists around the world.”