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EARTH OBSERVATION
Indra Enhances Imaging Of Spatial Mission For The Study Of Water On Earth
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Nov 25, 2011


illustration only

Indra has finished the upgrade of the SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) data processing system installed at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) located in Villafranca del Castillo (Madrid). The upgrades will allow production of more reliable images and better quality for the scientific community.

This breakthrough is part of the maintenance works for the SMOS user segment undertaken by Indra. On the other hand, the company led the whole development of the segment with the objective of studying the water cycle on the planet.

With the data reprocessing system upgraded the information obtained by the satellite so far will be treated to render much more accurate images of the soil humidity and salinity of the oceans including more information for scientists. In other words, the data to be treated is the information obtained from January 2010 to November 2011.

Besides this, the speed of the data processing system will be manifolded. It is expected to be 15 times faster than the main platform, this way the system will be able to reprocess in a single month all the data obtained by the satellite last year.

Now that the works are concluded ESAC becomes the only existing center equipped with a system of this type fully dedicated to SMOS as the platform installed at Kiruna (Sweden) gives service to several spatial missions at the same time. The Spanish center therefore becomes a benchmark for the scientific community.

System maintenance
In addition to the engineering works commissioned to Indra by ESA we should also mention the maintenance assignment which includes the maintenance of the system of satellite data capture, the maintenance of the data processing centre itself and of the reprocessing center.

In all cases, Indra is responsible for the corrective and preventive maintenance which enables early detection of possible errors, thus avoiding a negative effect on the mission.

Finally, as more improvements are incorporated in the subsystems, Indra installs them first in the integration and maintenance platform at its own facilities and carries out the necessary tests. The company also prepares the new versions of the software for ESAC's operation team and provides the necessary support for the installation in the operational platform.

Responsible for the development of the SMOS user segment
The 2 of November 2009 the SMOS satellite was launched. It was the beginning of the mission which produces the first images of the salinity of oceans and of the soil humidity from all over the planet.

The event also marked the end of the works undertaken by Indra for four years. The company was at the head of the industrial team in charge of developing the user segment of the mission. This segment is dedicated to data reception and treatment by performing complex calculations in order to infer the salinity and humidity levels as well as the distribution portrayed in images.

Furthermore, Indra directly engaged in the development of several subsystems critical to the mission. Among them we can mention the station for satellite data reception and the file system, distribution, production management and monitorisation of the center.

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