ALTIUS (Atmospheric Limb Tracker for Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere) is a satellite mission initiated by the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB). Belgium is the greatest contributor to the mission (94% of the total budget) while Canada, Luxembourg and Romania are all together contributing for the last 6%.
Its primary objective is the monitoring of the 3D distribution and evolution of stratospheric ozone at high vertical resolution in support of operational services and for long term trend monitoring.
The secondary objective is to measure aerosols and greenhouse gases. These measures are essential for atmospheric models that calculate consequences of increasing greenhouse gas emissions or the impacts of political decisions to protect our environment.
ALTIUS will be part of the PROBA family. This platform has demonstrated excellent attitude control and agility with previous missions (PROBA-1, PROBA-2, and PROBA-VEGETATION). The embarked instrument will be composed of a Spectral Imager for atmospheric limb observation in 3 spectral channels: UV, VIS, NIR. The launch is expected for 2021.
ALTIUS is developed as an ESA Earth Watch mission. The overall objective of the Earth Watch Initiative is to secure for Europe an independent sustainable capability in operational Earth Observation. This capability must satisfy requirements for operational services supporting both institutional needs and commercial initiatives.