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SCISYS builds the Payload Operations Centre for the Merlin climate mission

(17 February 2017) In line with the start of the next phase in the French-German MERLIN climate mission, SCISYS has received a contract from Airbus DS GmbH for the realisation of the Payload Operations Centre (PLOC) for the LIDAR instrument on the MERLIN satellite.

The PLOC is responsible for the automated preparation, generation and validation of commands to control the LIDAR instrument aboard the satellite, as well as for monitoring the instrument parameters.

The contribution by SCISYS to the MERLIN mission includes the hardware and software elements, as well as the central functions of the Payload Operations Centre. This includes important interfaces to the overall satellite ground segment of the joint satellite mission. The concept developed by SCISYS enables a fully automatic flow control that also allows intervention by an operator at any time.

The mission data captured will be received and pre-processed in the Control Ground Segment (CGS), operated by the French space agency CNES in Toulouse. Within the Payload Data Processing (PLDP) facility, the data will be processed into scientific data products and distributed to the science community.

For instrument monitoring and data quality evaluation, these products will be stored in dedicated German mission data storage. SCISYS will specify the final design of this data storage and has the responsibility for its development, testing and verification.


Starting in 2021, the French-German climate mission MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission) will observe greenhouse gas methane levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. The main goal of this three-year mission is to produce a global methane-concentration map. The German activities are funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and are coordinated by the aerospace management of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The MERLIN ground segment will also be realised with French-German cooperation. The main contractor for the German contribution is Airbus DS GmbH. It will implement the German parts of the MERLIN ground segment in cooperation with SCISYS Deutschland GmbH, the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (DLR-IPA) and the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (DLR-IMF).