CryoSat environmental testing over – preparations for shipment to launch site about to begin
The intense mechanical testing period is finally over for the CryoSat satellite, and with launch just a couple of months away - the very last checks are being made before the spacecraft is packed up and shipped to the launch site in Plesetsk, Russia.
During the last 12 months the satellite has been undergoing stringent mechanical and environmental tests at the Space Test Centre at IABG (Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH) in Ottobrunn, Germany. Unfortunately, some concerns were raised about how a few of the components were functioning and consequently, repair and replacement activities hampered the testing programme and slightly delayed the launch date. Now, however, there just remains the final software checks before the satellite and its support equipment are packaged for the long voyage to Russia for launch at the end of September.
The last phase of the testing programme focused on rigorous acoustic tests, which subjected the satellite to the same levels of noise that it will be exposed to during launch. CryoSat will be launched on a Rockot launch vehicle from the remote Plesetsk Cosmodrome about 800 km north of Moscow in Russia. Rockot is one of the modified Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) SS-19 launchers, which were decommissioned as a result of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991. The adaptation of the SS-19 uses the original two lower liquid propellant stages of the ICBM in conjunction with a new Breeze-KM third stage for commercial payloads.
A few weeks before the acoustic tests were carried out CryoSat underwent thermal balance and vacuum testing. This part of the programme ensured that the satellite will function properly in the harsh environment that space presents. The spacecraft was oriented in various positions in the Sun chamber to simulate, as accurately as possible, the various degrees of heat that the spacecraft will encounter during its unusual polar-orbiting lifetime.
Now that the crucial testing period is over the CryoSat team is preparing for the launch campaign and the operations planned during the early life of the satellite in orbit.
It has taken just six years for CryoSat to go from a proposal idea to a full satellite mission about to be launched. Dedicated to monitoring precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice, CryoSat is the first Earth Explorer mission to be realised as part of ESAs Living Planet Programme. The observations made over the three-year lifetime of the mission will provide conclusive evidence of rates at which ice cover may be diminishing as a result of global warming.
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...