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Cryosat 2



Cryosat 2, a European Space Agency Earth science satellite, was launched from Baikonur on a Dnepr rocket on 08 April 2010 at 13:57 UT. Cryosat 2 will spend more than three years monitoring the precise changes in the polar ice caps and floating sea ice to determine the rate the planet's ice cover is diminishing. The satellite replaces one that was lost in a launch failure in 2005. The primary instrument on Cryosat 2 is SIRAL, the Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter. The SIRAL instrument will operate in three modes: a low-resolution mode, a synthetic aperture mode, and an interferometric mode. The low-resolution mode will scan the sea surface and stable continental ice sheets in Antarctica, the synthetic aperture mode will measure the elevation of floating sea ice to determine its thickness, and the interferometric mode will gather high resolution data on the borders of ice sheets.

Alternate Names

  • 36508
  • Cryosat2

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2010-04-08
Launch Vehicle: Dnepr
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), Kazakhstan

Funding Agency

  • European Space Agency (International)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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