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Observation de la terre

Follow ESA's Earth observation missions as they are prepared for liftoff
  1. It’s been a week since ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite set sail from France for its launch site in French Guiana. With arrival expected to be 28 June, this latest Earth Explorer mission still has to spend another few days on the ocean waves. The precious cargo is being accompanied by ESA’s Gilles Labruyère, who has worked on the mission for many years. While internet connections are naturally somewhat limited in the middle of the Atlantic, Gilles has managed to report that all is well at sea. He has to adjust to strange day lengths, however, as the ship crosses time zones. And he seems to be getting star treatment from the captain. Gilles said, “The other day was another 25 hours day. We changed time zone again. Yesterday, I had a complete visit of the ship with Captain, including the refrigerated rooms, hospital and bow thrusters.” The ship is well passed the Azores and everything seems to be pretty calm. Gilles checks on the satellite’s container regularly, “Temperature inside the container between 20°C and 21°C. Relative humidity is between 45 RH and 50 RH. Drop of pressure in the air bottles lower than 2 bars/day: Just perfect!” The ship can be tracked with the Vessel finder. Scheduled to liftoff on a Vega rocket on 21 August at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST) from Europe’s spaceport near Kourou, Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit. This pioneering mission uses powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind and information on aerosols and clouds. Read more about the Aeolus mission.
  2. Today is Global Wind Day, which couldn’t be more apt for ESA’s Aeolus wind satellite to begin its voyage to the launch site in French Guiana. And, while almost all satellites journey by aircraft, Aeolus is different, it’s going by ship. Scheduled to liftoff on a Vega rocket on 21 August at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST) from Europe’s spaceport near Kourou, Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit. This pioneering mission uses powerful laser technology that probes the lowermost 30 km of our atmosphere to yield vertical profiles of the wind and information on aerosols and clouds. Since the instrument is sensitive to pressure change, ESA and Airbus Defence and Space engineers decided that the safest way for it to journey from France, where it has been going through testing, to French Guiana would be by ship. Going by ship may seem a little strange, after all it will take around 12 days to get there instead of a matter of hours, but if, for whatever reason, the aircraft had to descend rapidly and there was a sudden increase in air pressure, Aeolus’ instrument could be damaged. It was designed to allow for the pressure drop during launch ascent so that it could be taken into orbit, but not for a fast descent. Aeolus has, without doubt, been a challenging satellite mission to develop. Nevertheless, this long-awaited mission is now set to not only improve our understanding of how the atmosphere works and contribute to climate change research, but will also help to predict extreme events such as hurricanes. It will also help to better understand and model large-scale wind patterns driving weather such as El Niño. While Aeolus is set to advance science, it will also bring considerable benefits to society by […]
  3. With the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite safely in orbit and with the good news that the launch and early orbit phase was finished in record time – and following a launch campaign that lasted 49 days, it’s time for the Plesetsk team to return home to their families. So at the end of last week and the over the weekend there was the last packing to do, the last cake to eat and all the administration to close, and it was time say a final good-bye to the Russians in ‘rocket city’ Mirny. Meanwhile preparations in the city for the May celebrations were in full swing. People are busy with brooms, shovels and rubbish bags. After six months of winter weather, there is a lot of rubbish emerging from the melting snow – but they are working hard to get everything ready for a parade. On Sunday 29 April, the train convoy with all containers left the MIK and the launch base for the station in Plesetsk. Around 22:00, the train convoy then left for Arkhangelsk. On Monday everything will be transferred to the airport, where Antonov is waiting. So, for us, it’s a big good-bye to Plesetsk as we all look forward to getting home. From the ESA Sentinel-3B launch campaign team in Plesetsk Read more about the Sentinel-3 mission  
  4. The Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite spent six weeks at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia being carefully prepared for liftoff. After being shipped from France to the launch site, the satellite was tested, joined to the rocket launch adapter, sealed from view in the fairing and taken by train to the launch pad. Sentinel-3B lifted off on 25 April 2018 at 17:57 GMT (19:57 CEST).
  5. The second Sentinel-3 satellite, Copernicus Sentinel-3B, was launched today, joining its identical twin Sentinel-3A in orbit. This pairing of satellites increases coverage and data delivery for the European Union’s Copernicus environment programme. The 1150 kg Sentinel-3B satellite was carried into orbit on a Rockot launcher from Plesetsk, Russia, at 17:57 GMT (19:57 CEST; 21:57 local time) on 25 April. Rockot’s upper stage delivered Sentinel-3B into its planned orbit. Just 92 minutes after liftoff, Sentinel-3B sent its first signals to the Kiruna station in Sweden. Data links were quickly established by teams at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, allowing them to assume control of the satellite. During the three-day launch and the early orbit phase, controllers will check that all the satellite’s systems are working and begin calibrating the instruments to commission the satellite. The mission is expected to begin routine operations after five months. “This is the seventh launch of a Sentinel satellite in the last four years. It is a clear demonstration of what European cooperation can achieve and it is another piece to operating the largest Earth observation programme in the world, together with our partners from the European Commission and Eumetsat,” said ESA Director General Jan Wörner. With this launch, the first set of Sentinel missions for the European Union’s Copernicus environmental monitoring network are in orbit, carrying a range of technologies to monitor Earth’s land, oceans and atmosphere. ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, said, “With Sentinel-3B, Europe has put the first constellation of Sentinel missions into orbit – this is no small job and has required strong support by all involved. It allows us to get a very detailed picture of our planet on a daily basis and provides crucial information for policy makers. “It also offers lots of opportunities for commercial […]