An optical test bed to help Earth mapping

Project Key figures


Launch of the Earth observation satellite


People mobilized for 18 months, supported by four technical directors

- 100K

Particles per cubic meter in the ISO 5 white room to reduce the risk of contaminating the optical bed

OHB System AG, the prime contractor for a mapping program carried out by the German space agency, has chosen Bertin Technologies to design and produce a high-precision optical testing system. It will be used to test the satellite instrument that analyzes the light spectrum reflected by the Earth’s surface.

Observing the terrestrial environment

The German space agency launched a mapping and environmental analysis program (EnMap) to measure and model the key dynamic processes of the Earth’s ecosystem. By building a database of geochemical, biochemical and biophysical parameters, the program aims to support the sustainable management of the Earth’s resources. As the project’s prime contractor, OHB Systems AG has given Bertin Technologies the task of designing and producing an opto-mechanical test bed for qualifying and calibrating a key feature of the observation satellite: the instrument for analyzing the light spectrum reflected back from the surface of the Earth. The satellite is scheduled to be launched at the end of 2018.

High precision

To design and develop the opto-mechanical test bed, Bertin Technologies drew on its instruments for radio-spectroscopic calibration. The test bed was able to generate a spectral, spatial light, which could then be directed onto the instrument being tested in order to identify its characteristics.

First export contract

The development, which represents the first export contract for Bertin Technologies’ space activities, mobilized a team of four engineers and a project manager, supported by four directors of technical departments, for an 18-month period. The bed was tested in a white room that conformed to ISO 5 standards - which set a maximum of 100,000 particles per cubic meter - to meet the very strict limits for space instrumentation in terms of molecular-level contamination.