The Photon-M4 satellite was launched on July 19, 2014 from the Baikonur cosmodrome. The satellite is equipped with high-precision equipment for conducting experiments under the Russian program of scientific and applied research. Onboard the spacecraft is a unique Caliber device designed by the VNIIOFI in cooperation with the TSNIIMash to improve remote sensing of the Earth.
Space monitoring of climatic and ecological processes is an effective tool for early detection and prediction of negative phenomena in the atmosphere and on the surface of the Earth. Their observation, analysis and prompt alerting of terrestrial services are possible thanks to the latest optical and physical measurement technologies. Caliber is the basis of the world's first scientific experiment in microgravity involving VNIIOFI, aimed at improving the accuracy of radiometric measurements in space.
The Caliber equipment is a model of the blackbody at the melting point of gallium specially designed for use in space. In the experiment, the device performs the function of a highly stable source of thermal radiation for onboard calibration of infrared radiometers – orbit measuring instruments in satellite systems for the optical observation of the Earth surface. The use of the Caliber can significantly improve the accuracy of measurements of climatic parameters to build accurate models of the Earth's climate.
The Photon-M4 mission duration is 60 days at the Earth’s orbit. Its on-board equipment with measurement results will be landed in a descent module for further study and analysis by the specialists of the VNIIOFI , Russia's leading center of metrological support on the basis of optical and photometric measurements.