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Calibration OGSEs for multichannel radiometers for Mars atmosphere studies


This work describes several Optical Ground Support Equipment (OGSEs) developed by INTA (Spanish Institute of Aerospace Technology—Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial) for the calibration and characterization of their self-manufactured multichannel radiometers (solar irradiance sensors—SIS) developed for working on the surface of Mars and studying the atmosphere of that planet. Nowadays, INTA is developing two SIS for the ESA ExoMars 2020 and for the JPL/NASA Mars 2020 missions. These calibration OGSEs have been improved since the first model in 2011 developed for Mars MetNet Precursor mission. This work describes the currently used OGSE. Calibration tests provide an objective evidence of the SIS performance, allowing the conversion of the electrical sensor output into accurate physical measurements (irradiance) with uncertainty bounds. Calibration results of the SIS on board of the Dust characterisation, Risk assessment, and Environment Analyzer on the Martian Surface (DREAMS) on board the ExoMars 2016 Schiaparelli module (EDM—entry and descent module) are also presented, as well as their error propagation. Theoretical precision and accuracy of the instrument are determined by these results. Two types of OGSE are used as a function of the pursued aim: calibration OGSEs and Optical Fast Verification (OFV) GSE. Calibration OGSEs consist of three setups which characterize with the highest possible accuracy, the responsivity, the angular response and the thermal behavior; OFV OGSE verify that the performance of the sensor is close to nominal after every environmental and qualification test. Results show that the accuracy of the calibrated sensors is a function of the accuracy of the optical detectors and of the light conditions. For normal direct incidence and diffuse light, the accuracy is in the same order of uncertainty as that of the reference cell used for fixing the irradiance, which is about 1%.

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We would like to show our gratitude to the personnel that have participated in these instruments development at INTA, especially to the Space Sensors Engineering Area team and to the SPASOLAB team. Part of this work has been funded with the help of the Spanish National Research, Development and Innovation Program, through the Grants AYA2011-29967-C05-01 and ESP2014-54256-C4-3-R.

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Correspondence to J. J. Jiménez.

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Jiménez, J.J., J Álvarez, F., Gonzalez-Guerrero, M. et al. Calibration OGSEs for multichannel radiometers for Mars atmosphere studies. CEAS Space J 10, 127–145 (2018).

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  • Martian atmosphere
  • Solar irradiance sensor
  • ExoMars
  • Mars 2020
  • Optical calibration