ESA Envisat Pronounced Dead

What follows is a press release from ESA today:

ESA declares end of mission for Envisat

Just weeks after celebrating its tenth year in orbit, communication with the Envisat satellite was suddenly lost on 8 April. Following rigorous attempts to re-establish contact and the investigation of failure scenarios, the end of the mission is being declared.

A team of engineers has spent the last month attempting to regain control of Envisat, investigating possible reasons for the problem. Despite continuous commands sent from a widespread network of ground stations, there has been no reaction yet from the satellite.

As there were no signs of degradation before the loss of contact, the team has been collecting other information to help understand the satellite’s condition. These include images from ground radar and the French Pleiades satellite.

With this information, the team has gradually elaborated possible failure scenarios. One is the loss of the power regulator, blocking telemetry and telecommands.

Another scenario is a short circuit, triggering a ‘safe mode’ – a special mode ensuring Envisat’s survival. A second anomaly may have occurred during the transition to safe mode, leaving the satellite in an intermediate and unknown condition.

Although chances of recovering Envisat are extremely low, the investigation team will continue attempts to re-establish contact while considering failure scenarios for the next two months.

The outstanding performance of Envisat over the last decade led many to believe that it would be active for years to come, at least until the launch of the follow-on Sentinel missions.

However, Envisat had already operated for double its planned lifetime, making it well overdue for retirement.

With ten sophisticated sensors, Envisat has observed and monitored Earth’s land, atmosphere, oceans and ice caps during its ten-year lifetime, delivering over a thousand terabytes of data.

An estimated 2500 scientific publications so far have been based on this information, furthering our knowledge of the planet.

During those ten years, Envisat witnessed the gradual shrinking of Arctic sea ice and the regular opening of the polar shipping routes during summer months.

Together with other satellites, it monitored the global sea-level height and regional variations, as well as global sea-surface temperatures with a precision of a few tenths of a degree.

Years of Envisat data have led to a better understanding of ocean currents and chlorophyll concentrations.

In the atmosphere, the satellite observed air pollution increase in Asia and its stability in Europe and North America, and measured carbon dioxide and methane concentrations. Envisat also monitored the Antarctica ozone hole variations.

Over land, it mapped the speed of ice streams in Antarctica and Greenland. Its images were used regularly to update the global maps of land use, including the effects of deforestation.

Using its imaging radar, Envisat mapped ground displacements triggered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, improving understanding of tectonics and volcanic mechanisms.

Envisat provided crucial Earth observation data not only to scientists, but also to many operational services, such as monitoring floods and oil spills. Its data were used for supporting civil protection authorities in managing natural and man-made disasters.

Envisat has also contributed valuable information to the services within Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environmental Security (GMES) programme, paving the way for the next generation of satellites.

Now with the end of the mission, the launch of the upcoming GMES Sentinel satellites has become even more urgent to ensure the continuity of data to users, improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.


17 responses to “ESA Envisat Pronounced Dead”

  1. DirkH

    “Together with other satellites, it monitored the global sea-level height and regional variations, ”

    Well, but it totally failed at that, as all its collected data turned out to be crap and had to be replaced by invented data one week before it died.

    1. SpaceScience

      By the way, sea-level height was one of how many Envisat data products ?

      1. DirkH

        Oh, I’m sure it was a great surveillance tool for the police forces, don’t misunderstand me there. And we don’t have to worry about the crappy sea level measurement anyway as we can just make it up. The journals will accept anything that is on the CAGW party line.

        What the real sea level is? Who cares. It’s all about pushing through the agenda, science be damned. Sorry, didn’t want to insult you, space”science”.

        1. SpaceScience

          Not as good as surveillance tool as the recently ordered by the German forces Euro Hawks costing more than one Earth Explorer per piece ….

  2. BargHumer

    What is “civil security”?

    1. DirkH
      1. DirkH

        They are outside of EU jurisdiction. Main purpose is riot control and protection of assets in case that national troups of a member state join forces with local rioters. Their motto is “The Law Will Bring Peace”. They are allowed to use, how do you say, intelligence service methods.

        The treaty of Lisbon allows the EU to excert as much force as necessary to suppress resistance. This does not exclude the killing of opposition forces.

        Welcome to Europe. We hope you’re having a great time.

  3. Randall G

    P. Gosselin reports “As there were no signs of degradation before the loss of contact…….”.

    If I recall correctly, Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts reported that Envisat’s data was getting wonky at least a week before contact was lost. (These may have been reblogs from someone else’s blog.) While the loss of contact was sudden, the data was degrading prior to the failure. For how long and by what degree is open to question, but it was noticed that the satellite was having problems many days before the loss of signal.

    Envisat, you went far and above what was expected of you. Ya done good, babe. You’ll be missed.

  4. Casper

    Energiewende: Megalomania in Place of Huge Project
    Please, take you 30 min for watching the report.

    1. DirkH

      I watched it. Everybody in the film was an idiot. Nobdoy asked WHY one would want to proceed with the entire dysfunctional mess. Töpfer was the biggest idiot of them all. He has his own globalist institute in Berlin, BTW, and is the top German globalist.

      1. Casper

        I don’t want to be a meanie, but according to my experience it would be very difficult to find a honest German. The Germans never say public what they really think…

        1. DirkH

          Of course a lot of them including the NDR woman who posed as a complete numbskull have to lie to keep their cosy job. I can’t look into their head to see whether there’s a remainder of sanity hidden. All I can say is I would put them all into the mental ward, Töpfer first.

          1. Casper

            I totally agree with you, DirkH. The Germans follow the SYOA rule which is clear to me. However, I like them. It may be therefore I’ve been living in Germany for 11 years, and German was my first foreign language. (Alte Liebe rostet nicht) 😉

  5. Ulrich Elkmann

    A nice Freudian slip in Töpfer’s very first sentence, at 00:34: “Das was in Deutschland gemacht worden ist, ist ein Unikat…” (“what has been done in Germany is unique “; unfortunately, it would have to be “einmalig” in CORRECT German) – “…gibt es nirgendwo mehr” (he means to say “nirgendwo sonst”/”you have it nowhere else” – what he SAYS is “nowhere any longer”). How to trust boss man, if him no even know own language?

  6. DirkH

    There is BTW a US American satellite series, the CRYSTAL and successors… it is bus-sized, flies in a low orbit, and is usually launched at Vandenberg…

    The successors of Envisat will be called SENTINEL…

    Environment and science my shoe!

  7. SpaceScience

    BTW Dirk, reconnaissance satellites have typically a resolving power / MTF of less than 40-50 cm per groundpixel. Which of the devices installed on the Sentinels meet that requirements ? Furthermore, Envisat successors are not only the Sentinels but also the Earth Explorers.

    1. DirkH

      How should we know which devices are installed? Oh, I forget! They have a list on the web! Yeah, sure, they will give us a parts list of their recon satellite.

      a) I am surprised that you can utter entire sentences.
      b) I am convinced that you are not a complete idiot so you probably work for them and play the naiive believer in their name.

      What part of “civil security” do you pretend to not understand?

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