The Merlin system architecture is based on following elements:
- a Space Segment, namely the Merlin satellite, encompassing:
- a platform, based on Myriade Evolutions concept,
- a payload (IPDA lidar),
- a Control Ground Segment (CGS) function, including components shared with other missions:
- a Command and Control Centre (CCC) based on the new ISIS (Initiative for Space Innovative Standards) standard,
- an S-band and X-band communication system using the CNES 2 GHz and 8 GHz multi-mission network of Earth terminals,
- additional support functions implementing CNES multi-mission services. These include the debris management service, the COO orbital computation centre and the main control room,
- a numerical simulator of the system used for tests and qualification,
- a Payload Ground Segment (PLGS), encompassing:
- a payload management function, in charge of instrument monitoring and control (PLOC),
- a mission data management function (PLDP), in charge of generating and disseminating mission products,
- a product expert appraisal function (SPEX) for monitoring the quality of products,
- a position aboard a launch vehicle, featuring:
- a physical place for Merlin on a launcher,
- appropriate support from launch services.
These components are interfaced and operated in order to fulfil the following two main System functions:
- Mission programming (based mainly on S-band activities) which consists in:
- planning routine mission activities,
- monitoring and controlling the space segment (sending of commands, monitoring telemetry),
- the Science collecting line (based mainly on X-band activities) consisting in:
- retrieving, processing and disseminating science data,
- performing expert appraisals on scientific quality (product quality check).
Merlin system architecture
The launch vehicle will be chosen from Europe’s own portfolio. Both Soyuz and Vega are eligible.
From a technical viewpoint, the satellite is compatible with launchers from outside Europe, such as PSLV.
The project remains compatible with two local times of the ascending node: 06:00 and 18:00