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Successful launch for ESA's CryoSat-2 ice satellite
Date:4/8/2010

h system works and the effect that human activity is having on natural processes.

In response to this need, CryoSat-2 is carrying the first radar altimeter of its kind to overcome the difficulties of measuring icy surfaces. Its primary payload, the sophisticated SAR/Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL), was developed by Thales Alenia Space to measure the thickness of ice floating in the oceans and monitor changes in the ice sheets on land, particularly around the edges where icebergs are calved.

The CryoSat-2 satellite was built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium. The satellite is in a polar orbit, reaching latitudes of 88. This is closer to the poles than earlier Earth observation satellites, resulting in an additional area of about 4.6 million sq km being covered. This extra coverage amounts to an area larger than all 27 European Union member states put together. The combination of the technology onboard and a polar orbit will provide evidence to further our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate.

Now that CryoSat-2 is safely in orbit, the Mission Control Team at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany is busy with the critical 'Launch and Early Operations Phase'.


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Contact: Robert Meisner
robert.meisner@esa.int
39-069-418-0874
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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