Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GOCE prepares for shipment to Russia

24.07.2008
Launching in just two months' time, GOCE – now fully reconfigured for launch in September, is currently being prepared for shipment on 29 July 2008 from ESA's test facilities in the Netherlands to the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

Originally, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) mission had been scheduled for launch in May 2008, but as a result of precautionary measures taken following a problem with an upper-stage section of a Russian Proton launcher, the launch date was postponed until 10 September 2008. Consequently, the satellite had to be reconfigured for a so-called 'summer launch configuration'.

Since the GOCE gravity mission is designed to fly at a particularly low altitude of just 263 km and at a slight inclination with respect to an exact polar orbit, the satellite goes into the shadow of the Earth during polar nights for 28 minutes 135 days each year.

By going into the Earth’s shadow where no sun hits the satellite, GOCE experiences changes in temperature that could potentially affect measurements. Not knowing exactly when GOCE would launch, the option to choose whether it went into Earth’s shadow, referred to as an ‘eclipse period’, between October and February or between April and August was included in its design.

The choice between these two options is made by either launching into a northward equator crossing at 06:00 or at 18:00. The main difference between the launch times – as seen from the Sun – is that it determines whether the satellite flies clockwise or anticlockwise around the Earth.

Since GOCE will launch in September, the preferred eclipse period is April to August because it allows unaffected commissioning and science operations until April next year.

Over the last two months the satellite has been successfully reconfigured and fully tested and is now in the process of being prepared for its journey from ESA-ESTEC to the launch site in Russia.

On the morning of 29 July a container holding the GOCE satellite, along with six other containers carrying a whole host of support equipment, will be loaded onto trucks and taken to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Once aboard an Antonov cargo aircraft, the shipment will be flown to Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the container will be transferred to a train for the rest of the journey to the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Additional support equipment is being transported by ship to the launch site on 21 July from Antwerp, Belgium.

After the satellite is unpacked, a final check will be carried out before being mounted onto its Rockot launch vehicle 13 days prior to launch.

Once launched and commissioned, GOCE will map global variations in the gravity field with extreme detail and accuracy. This will result in a unique model of the geoid, which is the surface of equal gravitational potential defined by the gravity field – crucial for deriving accurate measurements of ocean circulation and sea-level change, both of which are affected by climate change.

GOCE-derived data is also much needed to understand more about processes occurring inside the Earth and for use in practical applications such as surveying and levelling.

Robert Meisner | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMX13THKHF_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht ALMA discovers aluminum around young star
17.05.2019 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht JQI researchers shed new light on atomic 'wave function'
17.05.2019 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cement as a climate killer: Using industrial residues to produce carbon neutral alternatives

20.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

When bees are freezing

20.05.2019 | Life Sciences

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth

20.05.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>