Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Primary instrument is delivered for ESA’s CryoSat mission

06.10.2004


Due for launch next spring, ESA’s ice mission CryoSat marked an important milestone last week when the innovative SAR/Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL) instrument was delivered to the prime contractor Astruim GmbH for integration into the satellite.



Developed by Alcatel Space, the SIRAL radar altimeter is the key instrument to be carried on the CryoSat mission. Its design is based on heritage from existing radar altimeters but with a number of sophisticated enhancements to overcome the challenges of measuring two different kinds of ice cover. SIRAL will be able to acquire very precise measurements of the thickness of relatively thin floating sea-ice so that annual variations can be observed, and also accurately survey the surface of polar ice-sheets, which are kilometres thick, in order to detect any small changes.

CryoSat is the first Earth Explorer satellite to be launched as part of ESA’s Living Planet Programme. It is now generally agreed that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming, however, it is very difficult to predict what effect this is having on polar ice cover. Since ice plays such an important role in the regulation of the Earth’s climate and sea-level height, it is crucial to determine any change in the thickness of marine and continental ice cover.


Orbiting the Earth at an unusually high inclination and reaching latitudes of 88° North and South on every orbit, CryoSat will provide estimates of sea-ice thickness for the whole Arctic basin and monitor thickness changes in ice sheets, particularly around the edges where icebergs break off. The main aim of the mission is to provide conclusive evidence as to whether the ice is really thinning and consequently advance our understanding of the relationship between ice and global climate.

In order to meet the mission’s demanding measuring requirements, an extremely specialised radar altimeter had to be developed and the result is the highly innovative SIRAL instrument. Weighing just 70 kilograms, it combines three measurement modes: Low-resolution, for conventional altimetric measurements limited to the relatively flat relief of continental ice fields both on land and at sea. Synthetic Aperture Radar mode, to provide high-resolution measurements of floating sea-ice.

Interferometric radar mode to study sharper relief areas, such as the very active transition areas where ice fields join the continental shelf. The CryoSat satellite is currently undergoing final environmental testing at the Space Test Centre at IAGB (Industrieanlagen Betriebsgellschaft mbH) and now that the key SIRAL instrument has been delivered, integration will begin shortly.

Guy Ratier, ESA’s CryoSat Project Manager said, "Indeed, the arrival of the flight model of SIRAL at IABG is a major step in the assembly and integration activities of the CryoSat Satellite. We are all eager to see this complex payload being operated with the spacecraft. Performance predictions are excellent and based on tests performed so far with the engineering model, we are quite confident of the successful outcome of the integration campaign starting now."

CryoSat is due to be shipped to the launch site in Plesetsk, Russia in mid-February ready for launch, which is scheduled for 25 March 2005.

Michael Rast | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Algorithm provides early warning system for tracking groundwater contamination
14.08.2018 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht Artificial Glaciers in Response to Climate Change?
10.08.2018 | Universität Heidelberg

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>