Technical support for CNES

cnes centre national etudes spatiales observation terre


Measuring global carbon dioxide concentration and improving understanding of the carbon cycle and climate


Passive 4-band NIR and SWIR array spectrometer



Cloud detection, performance studies, radiometry, geometry, simulator development


From 2015 to today

The MicroCarb project


The MicroCarb mission allows the study of atmospheric CO2 on a global scale. Indeed, CO2 is the main greenhouse gas. Today we do not know how much CO2 is absorbed or emitted in certain regions of the Earth. This is mainly due to the fact that we lack ground-based measuring stations. It is therefore necessary to map the sources and sinks of this gas in order to better understand the origins and impacts of climate change. Indeed, CO2 remains the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities.

The MicroCarb satellite will be able to measure the atmospheric concentration of CO2 over the entire planet. These highly accurate measurements will be possible thanks to a passive array spectrometer in 4 NIR and SWIR bands. These elements will also improve the understanding of the carbon cycle and climate.

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microcarb cnes magellium

Illustration of the MicroCarb satellite
© CNES/ill./SATTLER Oliver, 2021

The unit is in charge of measuring the global concentration of carbon dioxide as a technical support to CNES.

Find out more about the MicroCarb project here.

The objectives of Microcarb


Cloud detection

by imaging

by radiative transfer


Performance studies

Impact of instrumental defects (radiometric, spectral, geometric, residual polarisation)

Realistic calculation of the SRIF


Development of an orbital performance simulator

microcarb cnes magellium

Can shadows help in cloud detection?
Simulation of the S2 MicroCarb imager

Key partner


Key words

observation, satellite, earth, studies, climate change, warming, cnes, carbon dioxide, ground segment, cloud detection, microcarb

observation de la terre


The Earth Observation Unit of Magellium  is an expert in optical space missions and geophysical and biophysical applications. The EO unit provides high level of expertise and full capacity on the whole processing chain, enabling it to respond to all projects from the greatest space orders such as ESA and CNES.



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