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Envisat successfully launched

By fhotg in News
Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:41:22 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

02:12 CET Lift off on schedule. Booster separation completed, fairing jettisoned and all orbital parameters are nominal.
This announcement, 5 hrs ago on the Envisat Launch Page, marked the succesful start of the world's first satellite designed specifically for environmental monitoring.

By now,
Ariane 5 has released Envisat on a near-perfect orbit. Envisat has deployed its vital solar panel, and reached its nominal orientation. The solar is properly rotating, and provides 8 kW of power to the spacecraft.
Ariane 5, seven months after botching its last mission, delivered into a sun - synchronous 800 km orbit the product of 10 years of interdisciplinary and international work, involving 15 nations, worth 2.3 billion Euro. Envisats 2050 kg payload includes ten instruments designed to deliver data about today's hottest discussed environmental topics among other applications. Envisat circles the Earth at 100-minute intervals, 14 times a day, returning in a 35-day cycle to the same orbit, and in 3 days draws a complete map of the world.

GOMOS measures stratospheric ozone concentrations. SCIAMACHY, the most sophisticated sensor onboard, observes and measures the migration of "greenhouse gases" through the atmosphere. Scientists expect breakthroughs concerning our knowledge about the carbon-cycle. SCIAMACHY will show the consequences of forest fires, industrial emissions, arctic haze, dust storms and volcanic eruptions. Envisat will allow to identify carbon sinks and sources with a high temporal resolution, thus providing data that could have a major impact on current world climate negotiations. Envirosats Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) will measure sea-surface temperature, a key parameter in determining the existence and/or extent of global warming. The Radar Altimeter ( RA-2) determines the sea-surface elevation with an error of 2 centimetres, a needed parameter to understand and model the ocean circulation, which in turn is a control on weather patterns and climate. Another important instrument expected to considerably enhance our understanding of the role and the state of the oceans, as well as deliver information direct applicable to fishery, is MERIS, an imaging spectrometer covering the whole earth every 3 days at a resolution of 300 m.

Mark Doherty, ESA/ESRIN scientist is convinced that

Robust reliable global environmental information is going to be an economic, political and eventually a security must within the next 5 to 15 years. It's going to be red hot. And Europe must have the capability to get this information.
Take this statement together with Olivier Arinos (the head of applications development for institutional users at ESRIN) notion about the uniqueness of Envisat:
It is the only one that will be providing, operationally in near real time, the bunch of data required by institutions to monitor the Kyoto protocol implementation and other environmental treaties.
and congratulate the European Space Agency to the launch of the first non-military satellite with a direct impact on political decisions.


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Envisat successfully launched | 13 comments (13 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I suspect (1.72 / 11) (#1)
by medham on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:34:59 AM EST

That the EU has given their baby (citizens) the 99th degree and that she (the citizens) are primed to get up and throw a piston down on me (the EU) because of this.

This is just a hunch. And just how open was this Envisat? How do we know that it's purpose isn't industrial espionage against American corporations (certainly all the French do with their intelligence services).

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

that's not all (2.16 / 6) (#3)
by martman on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:15:49 AM EST

That's certainly not all the french intelligence community do. After all, they did blow up a Greenpeace vessel in New Zealand territorial waters. That must have taken planning.

I love how the perpetrators were caught and detained by the NZ gov't, who sent them back to France on the understanding that the French commandos in question would be punished. On reaching French soil they were decorated and promoted. Classy.

: )

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
Don't worry (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by trhurler on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:18:37 PM EST

I'm pretty sure that within the next 50 years, Greenpeace will successfully invade France. Whether or not the US steps in to save them again, I cannot yet say.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Poor joke (none / 0) (#6)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:06:50 AM EST

At least, I assume it was meant as a joke. You wouldn't use a remote sensing platform like that for industrial espionage against the US.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Not likely (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:10:57 PM EST

Not sure if you're joking, but apart from the fact mentioned above that the satellite isn't really suitable for espionage, doing such a thing would also violate the charter of the ESA, as it deals with "exclusively peaceful purposes", i.e. non-military projects. ESA members are of course free to develop military satellites, but they'll have to do it on their own, without ESA.

Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]
Direct political influence (2.66 / 3) (#2)
by jesterzog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:06:39 AM EST

and congratulate the European Space Agency to the launch of the first non-military satellite with a direct impact on political decisions.

I guess they're not all satellites (of Earth at least), but what about these three missions? Personally I think they had a direct impact on political decisions.

jesterzog Fight the light

Unless (4.00 / 2) (#4)
by fhotg on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:21:58 AM EST

you mean "influence on political decisions concerning NASA funding", I don't really see how the Mars missions are important for earthly concerns ?

[ Parent ]
The sad thing is... (3.66 / 6) (#5)
by Betcour on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:14:02 AM EST

Despite all the data it will fetch, Bush will proclaim that "everything is fine, no need to worry", make a smokescreen with "needing further research" and reward Exxon, Texaco and Enron (oops, sorry not this one) for their generous "help".

Probably (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:24:39 PM EST

Bush will probably not be swayed by any data coming from this satellite, but it has to be said that the Kyoto bit is used partly for PR-purposes, to add a bit of topical relevance. There's no doubt that, if everything works correctly, it will provide lots of valuable data, but keep in mind that Envisat was started long before Kyoto. As said in the article, the SCIAMACHY instrument will be the most relevant to Kyoto (i.e. greenhouse gases), but it's by no means certain it will be able to produce a complete picture necessary for treaties like Kyoto on its own. Coupled with other measurements however, it should prove well worth the trouble.

Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]
What about LANDSAT? (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:08:13 AM EST

And, for that matter, the French SPOT system? They're non-military, and have been used for land use planning for decades.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
The key here is (none / 0) (#11)
by fhotg on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 12:28:28 PM EST

environmental monitoring. Envisat is designed to yield a continous stream of data, global coverage, of a bunch of interesting variables. For example if you are interested in a particular coral reef and want a LANDSAT TM picture, you first ask the EDC to have that region imaged, and then wait a month to get the picture. Now, you're getting an update every 3 days.

LANDSAT and SPOT basically have only one type of sensor. Envisat flyes 9 different sensors, all looking in the same (nearly) direction at the same time from the same position. This will give an unpreceded insight in how the planet works.

[ Parent ]

thematic mapper (none / 0) (#12)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 01:32:06 PM EST

That's the Landsat sensor. I can't remember if it's 7 band or 9.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
7 bands (none / 0) (#13)
by fhotg on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:06:03 PM EST

plus a panchromatic channel for Landsat 7. Most of them at a spat. resolution of 30m. As opposed to 300m for Envisats MERIS (the sensor comparable to TM in spectral range and operating principle), thats the inevitable price you have to pay for quickly updated global coverage. As I understand, the bands (15) of MERIS can be freely programmed over the whole range.

[ Parent ]
Envisat successfully launched | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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