Good news from ESA. The latest Earth Explorer missions, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission, was successfully launched early on Monday 2nd November. More information is available here and ESA’s twitter feed reports that the SMOS signal has now been received confirming separation from the launcher and injection into orbit. So far so good.
Also onboard was the latest technology demonstrator from ESA called Proba-2, which will test a minature star-tracker, digital sun sensor, miniaturised wide angle camera, fibre sensors, a high-precision magnetometer, a dual frequency GPS space receiver, a xenon-fed resistojet thruster, a cold gas generator and many more.
UPDATE 4.11.2009 : ESA have confirmed that the SMOS instrument’s three antenna arms have deployed as planned, and that the instrument is in good health.
The Antarctic Polar View website has been dramatically updated to make access to images much easier. There are plenty of new features yet to come, but in the meantime please have a look and feedback is very welcome.
The other significant change this year is the much larger volume of Envisat ASAR imagery which is being acquired in the Antarctic. Thanks to the MyOcean project, ESA have put a serious amount of effort into delivering the necessary data. So expect to see regular ASAR acquisitions over most areas of Antarctic sea ice without needing to rely on specific requests.
Given that we have established this using OGC standards where practical, it has been relatively easy to think about developing an Arctic version of this site. More news on that later.
The 2010 European Space Agency Living Planet Symposium will take place in Bergen, Norway from 28 June to 2 July 2010. It follows the previous successful ENVISAT Symposia in Montreux (2007), Salzburg (2004), Gothenburg (2000), Florence (1997), Hamburg (1993) and Cannes (1992). The Symposium will provide an opportunity to present future ESA missions in development (GMES Sentinels, Earth Explorers and meteorological missions) and national EO missions.
Deadline for abstract submission is 15 November 2009. Details on themes and other details are available at the Symposium website.
From ESA – the European Space Agency held an Information Day related to the ESA Climate Change Initiative on
Monday, 5th October 2009 at ESRIN premises in Frascati, Italy.
The overall objectives and implementation plan of the ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) were presented and the content,
schedule and requirements for these first eleven“Essential Climate Variables” CCI projects were presented and discussed
during the event.
An abbreviated version of the presentation given last Friday at BAS is provided above. For the time being, I unfortunately cannot publish some of the hi-resolution images I showed. Please get in contact if you have any questions about these.
If you had half an eye on the media over the weekend you will have spotted that the Wilkins has finally exploded. That’s not even a great exaggeration – in the space of two days it went from stubbornly resilient intact ice bridge to a mess of fragments. It really does look like someone needed to get rid of a lot of semtex quickly. Now all eyes will be on how quickly the remnants are swept away and what the story is for the very large portion of the Wilkins left behind. So unfortunately we are likely to see more headlines like this in the future.
The Wilkins Ice Shelf saga continues and instead of posting regular updates of nothing happening, anyone who wants to can now keep a watch themselves. So in the spirit of all that is new and current in communications, feel free to sign up to the Polar View twitter feed which currently consists only of images of the Wilkins Ice Shelf area.
UPDATE – Launch delayed 7 seconds from take-off – more news from ESA soon hopefully.
GOCE, the first of three ESA Earth Explorer missions in 2009, launches today. ESA have gone multimedia crazy and you can follow progress on the website here, on twitter here, on flickr here and on YouTube here. Let’s hope they put as much effort into checking the rocket.
Fingers crossed for a sucessful launch. L-3 is at 15:18 CET (14:18 GMT).
Some background info below (once you get past the excessive footage of Italians enjoying the sunshine, the second half is actually useful).