Envisat Symposium day one: Steady symphony of Europe's largest satellite

during my time at the Agency. I well remember the launch of Envisat, shortly after I first became Director.

"The launch was perfect, placing the satellite to within a few metres of its planned orbit, which means we still have 75% of its fuel left, opening up the prospect of a mission lifetime of another seven years."

Achache added that the satellite has been working almost perfectly since the start, with its ground segment data distribution capabilities increasing steadily in line with growing user expectations, with online near-real time distribution made possible thanks to the intensive use of the Artemis communication satellite more than 50% of Envisat data are now transmitted via Artemis.

For the future, Envisat will remain a crucial part of the joint ESA-European Commission Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative to develop an independent planetary monitoring capability, which continues to make rapid progress, with GMES has been confirmed as Europe's segment of the international Global Earth Observation System of System (GEOSS).

Envisat data are a crucial part of the suite of operational services making up the current GMES Services Element. The spacecraft will also have a longer legacy within GMES, as the spacecraft's individual instruments are inspiring the design of the new generation of operational satellites at the centre of the space segment of GMES known as the Sentinels.

With tried-and-tested sensors required to ensure operational readiness, the first Sentinel is planned a carry Synthetic Aperture Radar, the second a multispectral imager along the lines of Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), the third will carry an altimeter and Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR)-type instrument, and the fourth Sentinel will have sensors for atmospheric chemistry.

Along with the scientifically-oriented Earth Explorers five have been selected so far smaller satell

Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency

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