Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Envisat takes shape

The payload and service modules of the European Space Agency's largest-ever-environmental satellite 'Envisat' are now being bolted together and tested at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

When the two sections are combined, the sate...
The payload and service modules of the European Space Agency's largest-ever-environmental satellite 'Envisat' are now being bolted together and tested at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

When the two sections are combined, the satellite will stand at over ten metres tall and will weigh more than eight tonnes. A 15 metre array of solar panels to power the satellite in orbit is also scheduled to be added in about three months. This will bring Envisat's final span to 25 metres.

'This is the long awaited moment when we put our flight space craft together in one piece. Even the engineers who have worked on it for years are impressed by the size and complexity of the satellite,' said Peter Dubock, Envisat's integration manager.

During its operational phase, scheduled to last at least five years, ten state-of -the-art instruments on-board Envisat will help European scientists advance our understanding of global warming, climate change, ozone depletion and changes in the oceans, ice sheets, vegetation and atmospheric composition, says the European Space Agency (ESA).

The satellite will also carry an advanced radar which will produce high quality pictures of the Earth from measurements of the radiation reflected from its surface.

Envisat's components have already been subjected to vigorous tests in extreme temperatures. Next August, the satellite will be submitted to acoustic tests in the Large European Acoustic Chamber (LEAF). Vibration tests - to check the satellite's ability to cope with the vibrations it will experience when it is launched - will be performed at the HYDRA hydraulic shaker in the autumn.

The space craft is scheduled to be launched on the Ariane 5 space rocket in June 2001.
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top