Thursday 14 December 2017

Satellite to measure ice caps is launched

Michael McCarthy

A HI-TECH European satellite designed to measure how fast the Earth's polar ice caps are melting was successfully launched into orbit yesterday, nearly five years after the first attempt at such a mission ended in spectacular failure.

CryoSat-2, which was designed and built in France and Germany but masterminded by British scientists, blasted off on a Russian launcher rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan shortly before 3pm yesterday afternoon. Some time later, a tracking station in Africa picked up the satellite's signal, confirming that it had gone into orbit.

In October 2005, the original €114m CryoSat was lost after an apparently successful launch, when the Russian rocket failed to separate and the whole assembly, including its satellite, fell into the Arctic Ocean -- the very waters who CryoSat had been designed to uncover.

Yesterday there was jubilation among the scientists of the European Space Agency. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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