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Envisat – hope remains to regain contact

20 Apr 2012, 18:38 UTC
Envisat – hope remains to regain contact
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TheEuropean Space Agency remains hopeful that it can regain contact with itsEnvisat Earth observation satellite, which unexpectedly stopped sending data tothe ground on 8 April.
Attempts toregain contact have so far been unsuccessful, but the spacecraft – one of themost sophisticated of its type and invaluable in such efforts as quantifyingclimate change – is in a stable orbit, ESA has determined by optical, radar andlaser observation.
But earlierthis week France’s Pleiades Earth observation satellite passed within about100km of Envisat and was successfully turned to gather images of Envisat thatare being analysed along with ground-based observations to determine whetherits solar panels are oriented to the Sun. If they are, ESA says, Envisat mayhave enough power to have entered a safe mode – and, possibly, enough power forre-establishing communication with Earth.
Informationon Envisat’s orbit is being provided by the US Joint Space Operations Center.In addition, multiple laser ranging stations on the ground are providinginformation to verify the stability of the satellite’s orbit.
More than4000 projects in over 70 countries have been supported with Envisat data, and evenif contact is regained, many ...

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