Zhang, P; Lu, NM; Li, CR; Ding, L; Zheng, XB; Zhang, XJ; Hu, XQ; Ye, X; Ma, LL; Xu, N; Chen, L; Schmetz, J (2020). Development of the Chinese Space-Based Radiometric Benchmark Mission LIBRA. REMOTE SENSING, 12(14), 2179.

Climate observations and their applications require measurements with high stability and low uncertainty in order to detect and assess climate variability and trends. The difficulty with space-based observations is that it is generally not possible to trace them to standard calibration references when in orbit. In order to overcome this problem, it has been proposed to deploy space-based radiometric reference systems which intercalibrate measurements from multiple satellite platforms. Such reference systems have been strongly recommended by international expert teams. This paper describes the Chinese Space-based Radiometric Benchmark (CSRB) project which has been under development since 2014. The goal of CSRB is to launch a reference-type satellite named LIBRA in around 2025. We present the roadmap for CSRB as well as requirements and specifications for LIBRA. Key technologies of the system include miniature phase-change cells providing fixed-temperature points, a cryogenic absolute radiometer, and a spontaneous parametric down-conversion detector. LIBRA will offer measurements with SI traceability for the outgoing radiation from the Earth and the incoming radiation from the Sun with high spectral resolution. The system will be realized with four payloads, i.e., the Infrared Spectrometer (IRS), the Earth-Moon Imaging Spectrometer (EMIS), the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), and the Solar spectral Irradiance Traceable to Quantum benchmark (SITQ). An on-orbit mode for radiometric calibration traceability and a balloon-based demonstration system for LIBRA are introduced as well in the last part of this paper. As a complementary project to the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) and the Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies (TRUTHS), LIBRA is expected to join the Earth observation satellite constellation and intends to contribute to space-based climate studies via publicly available data.