CryoSat ready for launch: Media Day at IABG/Munich

CryoSat will acquire accurate measurements of the thickness of floating sea-ice
4 September 2009

ESA PR 21-2009. 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 cleanroom 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.

Programme

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 email or fax it back by Thursday 10 September to:

IABG mbH
Corporate Communications
Monika Amler
Tel. +49 (0) 89 6088-2030
Fax. +49 (0) 89 6088-4000
presse@iabg.de

For more information:

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

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