The Swedish-built scientific satellite Odin celebrates 20 years in orbit on Feb 20. The satellite was launched in 2001 and has now orbited the Earth more than 109000 times. Odin is combined astronomy and atmospheric research mission. It measures emission lines from molecules such as water vapor, molecular oxygen, ozone and carbon monoxide which are important for the study of atmospheric processes as well as for the study of astronomical objects.
Odin has proved to be extremely reliable and as it runs on solar power and is not depending in any consumables the satellite just continues to work. The satellite’s two years design life-time has now been exceeded by a factor of 10. Thereby Odin has provided atmospheric chemistry measurement for 20 years which is very valuable to monitor long term evolutions.
Odin was originally a collaboration between Sweden, Canada, France and Finland, and the project has since 2007 also been supported by ESA’s Third Party Mission programme. Atmospheric measurement data from Odin is still being downloaded, processed, and used by the scientific community. End-data users are widely spread and has been used by 275 different institutes in 31 countries.
In the beginning of this year Odin decided to take a short rest. The on-board computer re-booted for the first time and the satellite went autonomously into a safe mode where it waited for the Odin ground crew to put the satellite back in full operations. The satellite was configured to resume measurements and all software changes made during the past two decades were uploaded again. On Feb 3, the payload was switched on again and the atmospheric measurements could resume. It is ready again to serve scientists and mankind with useful data, hopefully for years to come.
Odin is operated by OHB Sweden on a contract from Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA). The control centre is located at Esrange.
Read more from SNSA here.