Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ESA’s Earth Explorer gravity satellite on show

20.07.2007
GOCE, ESA’s first satellite dedicated to measuring the Earth’s gravity field, has been presented to the press today in Turin, Italy, before being shipped to ESTEC – the space agency’s research and technology centre in the Netherlands – for final testing.

The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer(GOCE), the first core Earth Explorer mission to be developed as part of ESA's Living Planet Programme, will significantly advance our knowledge of how the Earth works and provide insight into ocean circulation, sea-level change, climate change, volcanism and earthquakes.

The spacecraft has been in Italy at Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor for the development, integration and testing, for roughly nine months where the last subsystems and the payload were integrated on its platform.

Speaking at today’s media event, Carlo Alberto Penazzi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space in Italy, said: "We are especially proud to have played a major role in this ESA project, which represents a crucial step forward in increasing our knowledge of the structure of our planet and its well-being."

ESA GOCE Project Manager, Danilo Muzi highlighting the role of industry in this very challenging satellite’s development, said: "Forty-five companies distributed over 13 European countries have been working with ESA on the design of the satellite since 2001. The development of the GOCE satellite represents genuine European industrial cooperation."

"ESA's gravity satellite will measure Earth's gravity from place to place around the globe to provide a uniform global picture. It will do this with a level of detail and accuracy never before achieved," ESA GOCE Project Scientist, Mark Drinkwater, said. "This fundamental reference dataset will give access to new scientific insights into ocean circulation and its impact on climate, as well as into the structure of the interior of the Earth in critical locations such as earthquake and volcanic zones."

Because the gravitational signal is stronger closer to the Earth, GOCE has been designed to fly in a particularly low orbit - at an altitude of just 250 km. However, the remaining atmosphere at low altitudes creates a demanding environment for the satellite and presented a challenge for its design.

Unlike other missions where various independent instruments are carried aboard the spacecraft, GOCE is unique in that the instrumentation actually forms part of the structure of the satellite. A completely stable, rigid and unchanging local environment is required to acquire extremely high fidelity ‘true’ gravity readings, so the spacecraft intentionally has no mechanical moving parts.

The newly developed primary instrument - the gravity gradiometer - measures the terrestrial gravitational field thanks to a set of six ultra-sensitive capacitive sensors. In order to attain the required sensitivity, the gradiometer is combined with a precise GPS-based Satellite-to-Satellite Tracking Instrument to provide accurate three-dimensional positioning of the satellite along its orbit.

Once delivered to ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the spacecraft and gradiometer will undergo the final integration and environmental testing programme to make sure everything is in order to withstand the rigours of launch and the hostile conditions it will experience in space.

In spring 2008, GOCE will be launched on a Rockot launcher from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north-western Russia, under the responsibility of the German-Russian launch operator Eurockot.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM49CB474F_planet_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints
16.02.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba
15.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>