Scientists in Europe are embarking on a five-year mission to study the amount of biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests, and they are using one of L3Harris’ reflector solutions to support their research. The 12-meter Folded Rib Reflector currently being assembled to support the mission is L3Harris’ 100th unfurlable mesh reflector.

Quantifying the global carbon cycle is essential to understanding many of the dramatic changes taking place in Earth's system, particularly those resulting from the burning of fossil fuel and land-use change. Forests absorb, store and release large amounts of carbon, making them a key component of the carbon cycle. Yet, forest biomass is poorly quantified in most parts of the world. By producing more accurate maps of forests and noting changes over time, scientists will better understand forests’ role in the carbon cycle and its impact to the Earth’s climate.

L3Harris’ 12-meter Folded Rib Reflector is a unique large-aperture configuration that will use P-band synthetic aperture radar to measure the amount of biomass and carbon stored in some of the world’s forests. The long-wavelength P-band radar, which has never previously flown in space, will have its signals pierce through dense canopies from a 600km-altitude orbit down to Earth and back, enabling the collection of information that will support the mission.

“Our 100th unfurlable mesh reflector represents a major achievement in our industry, and we’re excited to see it support such a valuable environmental mission,” explains Tom Campbell, general manager of Antennas and Structures within Space and Intelligence Systems. “With nearly 100 unfurlable mesh reflectors on orbit, we are the world leader in deployable mesh reflectors and offer the most reflector architectures of any in the industry. We look forward to delivering this important 12-meter mesh reflector.”

The data collected from the mission will be used in part to support the United Nations Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD), which is focused on reducing emissions caused by deforestation and degradation in developing countries.

For more information on L3Harris’ 100th reflector and other reflector architectures, please visit