Teledyne e2v has announced that its PC7448 mircoprocessors will be used by Thales Alenia Space's on-board computers that serve the lightning imager (LI) systems on EUMETSAT's next generation Meteosat geostationary meteorological satellites. Four Meteosat MTG-I satellites, scheduled for launch from 2019, will be equipped with LI systems to deliver the sensitivity and discrimination required for near real-time lightning detection over the Earth's full hemisphere.

The satellite LI systems will facilitate the monitoring and tracking of active convective areas and storm life cycles critical for nowcasting and very short range forecasting of severe weather events. Monitoring of lightning also helps assess the impact of climate change on thunderstorm activity. Lightning is a major source of harmful atmospheric nitrogen oxides (NOx) that play a key role in the ozone conversion process and acid rain generation. A detailed knowledge of the global distribution of lightning is therefore a prerequisite for studying and monitoring NOx-related physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere.

Teledyne e2v has re-engineered its commercial grade PC7448 1.3GHz processors in accordance with NASA's MIL-PRF-38535 Class Y (QML Y) quality standard. Thales Alenia Space will be able to utilise a microprocessor offering the same performance as the latest desktop PCs in a spaceflight-ready version capable of surviving the rigours of a 15-year mission, Teledyne said.