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11 November 2014 TROPOLITE, on the path of atmospheric chemistry made simple
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Accurate, reliable and stable long term measurements of Earth’s Atmospheric Chemistry from Space are currently done by complex instruments, whose mass is in excess of 100 Kg. TROPOMI is the more recent instrument being developed jointly by ESA and NSO and due for launch in 2015. TROPOMI, consisting of four spectrometers ranging from UV to SWIR, is paving the way to the development of high performance spectrometers that will compose the backbone of the European Copernicus system. The objective of TROPOMI is to measure trace gases with an accuracy one order of magnitude better of what is currently done from Space. While teams of engineers are still busy finalizing TROPOMI, ESA, NSO, and TNO have launched an initiative along a different development axis: to explore the possibility of a lighter version of TROPOMI, to address a market valuing a cost effective instrument for Atmospheric Chemistry. TROPOLITE, as it is dubbed, leverages on all the technology developments and the lessons learnt from TROPOMI, but with the clear objective of a design to cost solution. Furthermore, mass and power of the instrument shall be within the envelope of a payload of a small satellite, namely 20kg and 30W and possibly within a volume of 20 x 20 x 40 cm3. The scope of TROPOLITE is to address a larger user base that is interested in an affordable instrument to perform from a small satellite some specific tasks relevant to Air Quality and/or Climate. The paper, after a short overview of the TROPOMI design and current status, presents the design philosophy of TROPOLITE, and shows what are the technologies and processes stemming from the experience gained with TROPOMI that make possible a simplified, but still very performing, version of TROPOMI. A comparison in terms of performance and functionalities of the two instruments is discussed. Finally, the development plan from the current development status of TROPOLITE up to Qualification Model is presented.
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Luca Maresi, Wencke Van Der Meulen, and Rob Vink "TROPOLITE, on the path of atmospheric chemistry made simple", Proc. SPIE 9241, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XVIII, 92410J (11 November 2014);

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