Envisat: Services interrupted

One of the last images to be transmitted before the loss of contact.
Picture: ESA

After just having celebrated its 10th anniversary of service on 1 March 2012, ESA's Envisat stopped sending data to earth. The last contact between the satellite and the ground station in Kiruna, Sweden was established on Sunday, ever since no data has been received. ESA’s mission control is working to re-establish contact with the satellite. Launched in 2002, Envisat has orbited Earth more than 50 000 times delivering thousands of images and other data used for example for climate change studies or natural disaster mitigation supporting more than 4000 projects in over 70 countries.

Originally Envisat was supposed to send imagery and data until 2007 having thus served twice as long as it was designed for. ESA had counted on the satellite to transmit data until 2014 before its successor satellite mission Sentinel would take up service. Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said, “The interruption of the Envisat service shows that the launch of the GMES Sentinel satellites, which are planned to replace Envisat, becomes urgent.”