ESA's Earth Explorer CryoSat-2 satellite is to scheduled to be launched on Thursday 8th April at 15:57 CEST, 2010 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

CryoSat-2 is ESA’s first mission specifically to monitor Earth's ice fields, measuring floating marine ice thickness as well as Antarctica and Greenland ice coverage, providing hard scientific measurements to help understand climate change. It will add high precision measurement data to information already being gathered by Envisat, a satellite that has been in orbit for eight years.

The satellite is the third Earth Explorer mission launched in the past 12 months. Previously, Gravity Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) was launched in March 2009, and the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) was launched November 2009. The mission cost is around €153M (US$207 million).

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CryoSat-2, named after the Greek kryos meaning cold or ice, will orbit 700km (435 miles) above the Earth’s surface. The 700kg (1,543lb) spacecraft carries a microwave radar altimeter to measure changes in ice thickness with a 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) accuracy.

Satellite monitoring of global ice is important, as according to the Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Satellite data since 1978 show that annual average Arctic sea-ice extent has shrunk by 2.7% per decade”.

There will be live televised transmission of the Earth Explorer CryoSat-2 launch at http://television. esa. int.

Visit: www. esa. int/cryosat

Via:www.greenmuze. ??m

Eco Info