April 13, 2012

Filling in for Envisat: “the CSA’s Radarsats 1 and 2 will try to fill some of the gaps”

Filed under: Cancon, Europe, Science, Space — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 08:43

The European Space Agency is still at a loss on why their flagship Envisat satellite suddenly went silent, but while they’re trying to diagnose and hopefully fix the problem, the Canadian Space Agency is helping to cover some of the gaps:

Controllers say the eight-tonne spacecraft appears to be in a stable condition, but they are not receiving any data at all from it.

Contact was lost with Envisat at the weekend shortly after it downloaded pictures of Spain’s Canary Islands.

A recovery team, which includes experts from industry, is now trying to re-establish contact with the craft.

Mission managers said on Friday that they were working through a number of possible fault scenarios but conceded they had little to go on.

[. . .]

Of more immediate concern are the operational and scientific projects that rely on Envisat data.

The satellite’s information is used daily to monitor for oil spills at sea, to check on iceberg hazards, and to provide information for meteorological forecasts, among a wide range of services.

All this had now been disrupted, said Prof Liebig.

“What we have done is [activate] the contingency agreement we have with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) which we have had for many, many years. Canada has responded very positively. So, for a certain time, the CSA’s Radarsats 1 and 2 will try to fill some of the gaps.”

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