After being launched into polar orbit, Earth observation satellites need to calibrate and validate their onboard instruments and then regularly throughout their lifespan.

Illustration of a satellite measuring downwards to Earth, while Alomar Observatory measures upwards, toward space.

Reliable contribution to Cal/Val activities requires both appropriate state-of-the-art hardware, knowledge and software tools to report to satellite operators.

Andøya Space was chosen as a calibration and validation facility for ESAs ADM-Aeolus mission and the European Commission’s Sentinel 5P in 2014.


The satellite is an ESA Earth Explorer satellite mission containing a Doppler wind lidar – ALADIN. Andøya Space is approved as a calibration and validation facility for the aerosol products from the satellite payload. The troposphere lidar and sun photometer data from CIMEL located at the Alomar Observatory are key instruments in the validation project.
The project has a duration of 3 years and includes a preparation phase ending 1 month prior to launch, and an operational phase lasting two years.
In addition to the validation of this satellite, the project will increase Andøya Space’s abilities to participate in future validation activities for satellites with polar and sun-synchronous orbits.

Sentinel 5P

The mission objectives are to provide operational space-borne observations in support to the operational monitoring of air quality, ozone and surface UV, and climate. The payload aboard the Sentinel-5P is a spectrometer that provides information about several trace gases in the atmosphere. To ensure the data product quality and relevance across Norway, Andøya Space will monitor ozone, UV-radiation, aerosols and clouds. The ozone-lidar, troposphere-lidar, CIMEL and spectrometers located at the Alomar Observatory are key instruments in the validation project.


The Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer satellite mission aims to advance the understanding of the role that clouds, and aerosols play in reflecting incident solar radiation back out to space and trapping infrared radiation emitted from Earth’s surface. The troposphere lidar, sun/moon/sky photometer and CIMEL located at the Alomar Observatory will be used.

More information

For more information, contact Andøya Space Sub-Orbital