Envisat concludes a busy second year in orbit

rument has doubled.

"Envisat's ASAR returns four times more data than its equivalent instrument on ERS-2, and in up to 37 different sub-modes. One of the most used modes is called 'ERS-like' because of its ability to extend the ERS SAR archive, and in this mode alone ASAR produces more data than its predecessor instrument."

Overall a total of 140 gigabytes of information products are derived from Envisat data daily, equivalent to 50 terabytes a year sufficient in paper form to fill the largest library on Earth, the United States Library of Congress, more than two times over. Depending on their size, processed products are disseminated to users either via internet, DVD or CD-Roms, or relayed via communication satellite.

Data use doubled

During the last 12 months the number of projects worldwide making use of this data has more than doubled to 450.

"This number encompasses many different activities and requirements," explains Laur. "Projects range from small scientific teams making use of limited scientific data up to the heavy data demands and dedicated dissemination of systems like those making up the Global Environment for Environment and Security (GMES) Services Element."

The GMES Services Element is the first programme of a joint ESA-European Union initiative intended to enhance global monitoring capabilities to support European policy goals.

In the longer term the initiative will have its own dedicated missions, but for now the multiple-sensor capability of Envisat plays an important role in supplying GMES services coming on stream with the data they require: from the advance of ice floes in the Canadian Arctic to the damage done by forest fires and subsidence events in city streets.

Mapping the atmosphere in near-real time

In addition, during each and every orbit Envisat instruments provide continuously updated measurements of many of the fastest-changing components

Contact: Henri Laur
European Space Agency

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