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Deal signed for FLEX's fluorescence finder

07 November 2016

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ESA has selected Italian company Leonardo to build the main instrument for the upcoming FLEX satellite to study the health of Earth's vegetation.

At an event held today in Florence, Italy, Leonardo signed a €74 million contract to design, build and test the spectrometer for ESA's eighth Earth Explorer over the next four years.

Planned for launch by 2022, it will detect and measure the light emitted by plants as they convert sunlight and the atmosphere's carbon dioxide into energy. While this photosynthetic activity is invisible to the naked eye, the instrument will observe the fluorescence of vegetation, yielding important information about plant health.

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