Modulight lasers launched to space on ESA’s SMOS satellite mission

Tampere, Oct 21st, 2009 – Modulight, Inc. (Tampere, Finland) has successfully supplied fiber pigtailed laser diodes to European Space Agency (ESA) – for the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite to be launched on 2nd of November 2009. These lasers, designed and manufactured in Finland, are an essential part of the optical harness of the MIRAS (Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis) instrument in the satellite. Through the use of MIRAS, SMOS will provide global information on surface soil moisture every three days within an accuracy of 4% at a spatial resolution of 50 km – comparable to being able to detect one teaspoonful of water mixed into a handful of soil. In parallel, SMOS will also observe ocean salinity down to 0.1 psu (practical salinity unit) for a 30-day average over an area of 200×200 km, which is about the same as detecting 0.1 g of salt in a litre of water.

The MIRAS Optical Harness (MOHA) was designed and manufactured by former Contraves Space (currently RUAG Space). Modulight supplied >70 lasers to this instrument that controls the synchronization of the distributed microwave antenna elements of the satellite and thereby the whole remote sensing functionality.

The data from SMOS will result in a better understanding of the water cycle and, in particular, the exchange processes between Earth’s surfaces and the atmosphere. This data will help to improve weather and climate models, and also have practical applications in areas such as agriculture and water resource management.

“We are very proud that we delivered the first ever communication lasers to space application for a mission critical function on a science satellite. This is a tangible proof of the reliability of Modulight as a partner and the products we manufacture. We are naturally excited to follow the SMOS mission and are happy to contribute to understanding better the use of natural resources on our globe.” says Dr. Petteri Uusimaa, Modulight’s President & CEO.

For more details on SMOS mission please visit ESA’s website.

About Modulight, Inc.

Modulight, Inc. provides value-added solutions to optical applications for industrial, communication, medical, space, and defense industries. Modulight products include various types of lasers from visible to infrared wavelengths with output power levels from milliwats to over hundreds of watts. Modulight provides also laser solutions from design and manufacturing of laser diodes to OEM-based optical sub-systems and turnkey laser systems. Modulight owns and operates a semiconductor fab in Tampere, Finland and has fully owned subsidiary Modulight USA located in San Jose, California.

Contact information

Modulight, Inc.
Anca Guina
Manager, Product Promotion
Tel: +358 20 743 9000
Fax: +358 20 743 9009