Monday, October 10, 2005

New Scientist Breaking News - ESA considers rebuilding lost CryoSat satellite

The European Space Agency is considering rebuilding its lost CryoSat satellite, which crashed into the Arctic Ocean on Saturday after the failure of its launch vehicle.

CryoSat was designed to measure the thickness of polar ice sheets and floating sea ice to an unprecedented level of accuracy, providing valuable new data to climate scientists. But it was lost when its Rockot launcher, built by a German and Russian joint venture called Eurockot, failed shortly after launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northwest Russia.

The problem appears to lie with the rocket's second stage. It failed to shut off as planned and did not separate from the vehicle's upper stage, causing the satellite and conjoined stages to splash into the ocean north of Greenland.

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