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 Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
26.05.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>