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The MIPAS menu to your right provide information concerning the SPPA activities for this instrument. 


A brief description of the instrument, its operations and main mission highlights is available in the sections below:

  Sensor Description   |   Sensor Modes   |   Mission Operations Overview     

Minimize Baseline Operations

The ENVISAT mission with on-board the MIPAS instrument lasted ten years, from the 1st of March 2002 until the 8th of April 2012. In 2004, MIPAS suffered a major anomaly affecting the Interferometer Drive Unit (IDU) with serious impact on performances. To avoid the mechanical blockage of the instrument, ESA took the decision to interrupt MIPAS regular operations on the 26th of March 2004. Different tests with different slides configurations, and spectral resolutions were performed for the identification of the error source, also for recovering the instrument. Despite such a serious problem, ESA succeeded the recovery of the instrument on January 2005, after only few months of tests.

MIPAS was operated at 100% of its duty cycle from July 2002 to March 2004. Due to the mentioned instrument anomaly, it was operated with a reduced duty cycle (about 30% at the beginning of 2005 and progressively increased) until December 2007, when it was successfully recovered back to 100% duty cycle, after 3.5 years since the first failure. The adopted duty cycle has a direct consequence on the overall number of observations acquired by MIPAS in the different periods.
Moreover the MIPAS major anomaly in 2004 obliged ESA to modify the acquisition scenarios and to completely re-characterize the instrument.


Different phases can be therefore identified along the MIPAS mission, characterized by a different spectral resolution and a different limb scanning pattern with different vertical and horizontal sampling (see Sensor Modes):

  • Commissioning Phase: 1st March – July 2002: ENVISAT launch, SODAP and MIPAS cal/val phase.
  • Full Resolution (FR) phase: 1st July 2002 – 26th March 2004: MIPAS original measurement mode acquiring full spectral resolution measurements (0.025 cm-1). During this phase, MIPAS measurements were mainly acquired in Nominal Mode with 17 sweeps per scan; only few orbits were commanded in the Special observation Mode and in the Upper Atmosphere observational scenario for scientific purposes.
  • Mission suspended: 26th March 2004 – 9th August 2004
  • Reduced Resolution (RR) phase: 9th August 2004 – 17th September 2004: MIPAS was tested for acquiring 41% reduced spectral resolution measurements (0.0625 cm-1) and asymmetric transitory sweeps (3.3 mm asymmetry). For this phase, Nominal Mode operations have 17 sweeps per scan.
  • Mission suspended: 17th September 2004 – 10th January 2005
  • Optimized Resolution (OR) phase: 10th January 2005 – 21st October 2010: MIPAS was operated in double slides configuration for acquiring 41% reduced spectral resolution measurements (0.0625 cm-1) and asymmetric transitory sweeps (3.3 mm asymmetry). Operations were based on an "event driven scenario" with priority to validation campaigns and special observations. The instrument duty cycle increased from 30% up to 100% i.e. continuous operations since 1st December 2007. During this phase, beside the most frequent Nominal Mode, several measurements have been acquired in UTLS-1 (Upper Troposphere-Lower Stratosphere), MA (Middle Atmosphere) and UA (Upper Atmosphere) modes. The new Nominal Mode has 27 sweeps per scan. The other observation modes were updated for the new instrument configuration and optimized wrt vertical and horizontal spacing.
  • ENVISAT extended mission: 21st October 2010 – 8th April 2012: MIPAS was still operated in Optimized Resolution (OR) but the ENVISAT platform was moved to a lower altitude with drifting orbit.