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 Battle to save flagship Envisat spacecraft

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Belinda Ongaro



Number of posts : 32
Registration date : 2012-02-02

PostSubject: Battle to save flagship Envisat spacecraft   Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:15 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17692027
Above is an article that I believe to be quite appropriate for the physics 20 class, as we are currently studying orbits and satellites. The Envisat is an observation mission that was launched by the European Space Agency in 2002. Recently, the Envisat, the largest non-military craft in orbit, unexpectedly lost contact. A recovery team is working to regain contact to no avail. There is very little to go on in terms of determining fault scenarios, but the craft appears to be fully intact, so further investigations are underway. From both the ground and from space information is being collected regarding the status of the satellite. The Envisat mission rang in at 2.5bn euros, and has outlived its expectancy of 5 years, however the Esa intends to keep it running until 2014. Earth science studies rely on the observations it supplies, thus a replacement craft will be launched within the next year, followed by two more in 2014. Of more immediate concern however are the day to day monitoring it provided, from detecting oil spills to aiding in meteorological forecasting. The Canadian Space Agency has agreed to assist the Esa by sharing the data obtained by our own observational craft. Contact with the Envisat will hopefully be recovered soon so that Europe's scientific projects and observations can be continued.
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Ashley Bacchus



Number of posts : 64
Registration date : 2011-02-06

PostSubject: Re: Battle to save flagship Envisat spacecraft   Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:57 pm

Itís unfortunate that communications have failed with the craft since it provides data on operational and scientific projects. I wonder if contact is lost that often with other spacecrafts, imagine how scary that would be to in outer space with no contact with Earth. As Belinda mentioned, the information the craft supplies is quite important to the Europeans, so repairing it or finding a replacement is definitely a priority. I think itís nice that the Canadian Space Agency is willing to lend a hand for the moment being, itís good to see some cooperation between nations. The replacements for this spacecraft will probably cost a large sum of money, money that could have been spent on other space projects. Although they wouldíve had to replace it in 2014, at least they would have had the time to properly assemble the new spacecrafts; now that time is limited it will put more pressure on scientists to complete the crafts more quickly. So yeah hopefully scientists will be able to figure out the problem and regain communications with the Envisat.
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