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N° 21–2009: CryoSat ready for launch: Media Day at IABG/Munich

4 September 2009

On Monday 14 September media representatives will have the opportunity to attend an in-depth CryoSat background briefing at IABG’s spacecraft test centre in Ottobrunn near Munich, Germany. Project managers from ESA and industry, as well as scientists and other experts, will give presentations on the spacecraft and its scientific objectives and will be available for individual interviews. The programme (see below) includes a visit to the clean room to see the satellite at first hand before it is packed and shipped to the Baikonur launch base in Kazakhstan.

The European Space Agency’s CryoSat satellite is designed to provide new measurements of the extent and the thickness of the Earth’s polar ice sheets. CryoSat’s innovation is that it will not only be able to map the extent of the ice cover but will also measure the thickness of the ice sheets. This will provide information on ice volume and will therefore further our understanding of the effects climate change is having, and will have, on global ice cover.

After the successful launch in 2002 of Envisat, the largest Earth observation satellite ever built, ESA started to develop the Earth Explorer missions in order to provide a moderate-cost, fast response to important scientific issues using cutting-edge technologies. As the first of these missions, the original CryoSat was launched in 2005, but the launch resulted in failure with the remains of the satellite crashing down near the North Pole shortly after lift-off. Following the successful launch of ESA’s gravity mission GOCE on 17 March of this year and the upcoming launch of ESA’s water mission SMOS in November, the CryoSat mission will finally get off the ground with the spacecraft rebuilt by prime contractor Astrium, becoming ESA’s third Earth Explorer in orbit.

Scheduled for launch this December aboard a Dnepr launcher from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, CryoSat is set to significantly improve our knowledge of global ice mass. The mission will enhance our understanding of how the polar regions are influenced by climate change as well as our knowledge of the interaction between sea ice and the oceans. It may also trigger a number of practical applications, such as improved understanding of ocean circulation and greater insights into current and future changes in sea level.

The programme for the Media Day on 14 September at IABG will run as follows:

10:30 – 11:00 Registration

11:00 – 11:05 Welcome to IABG
Stefan Kupczyk, Head of Space Division, IABG
11:05 – 11:20 Welcome and Introduction to ESA’s Earth
Observation Programme and the Earth Explorer Missions
Volker Liebig, Director of ESA Earth Observation Programmes
11:20 – 11:30 The CryoSat Mission
Richard Francis, CryoSat Project Manager, ESA
11:30 – 11:40 Engineering of the Spacecraft
Eckard Settelmeyer, Director EO & Science, Astrium
11:40 – 11:50 The CryoSat Radar Altimeter Instrument
Laurent Rey, SIRAL Instrument Project Manager, Thales Alenia Space
11:50 – 12:10 Scientific Challenges and Expected Results from the CryoSat Mission
Duncan Wingham, University College London,
CryoSat Lead Investigator
12:20 – 12:45 Q&A session
12:45 – 13:45 Visit to see the CryoSat satellite;
photo and interview opportunities in the clean room
13:45 – 14:45 Working lunch with additional interview opportunities

14:45 End of event

Media representatives wishing to attend this event are kindly requested to fill in the attached registration form and e-mail or fax it back by Thursday 10 September to:

Corporate Communications
Monika Amler
Tel. +49 (0) 89 6088-2030
Fax. +49 (0) 89 6088-4000

For more information:

Franco Bonacina
ESA Media Relations Office
Communication and Knowledge Department
Tel. +33 1 53 69 77 13

Media accreditation form

CryoSat Press Day
IABG, Ottobrunn (Munich)
Einsteinstraße 20, 85521 Ottobrunn

Note: GPS users please enter the following address:
Lilienthalstrasse 12, 82024 Taufkirchen near / bei München

Monday, 14 September 2009

First name: _______________________ Last name: _______________________

Media: ______________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________


Tel: ________________________ Cell phone: ____________________

E-mail: _______________________________________________

[ ] YES, I shall be attending the CryoSat Press Day at IABG.

TV networks: please list all members of your crew (if applicable):

Name: _________________________ Function: _________________

Name: _________________________ Function: _________________

Name: _________________________ Function: _________________

Please return this form by e-mail or fax by Thursday 10 September 2009 to:

Corporate Communications
Monika Amler
Tel. +49 (0) 89 6088-2030
Fax. +49 (0) 89 6088-4000