Envisat: 20 years after launch


Twenty years ago, on the first of March 2002, ESA launched a new satellite to monitor our planet from space: Envisat. This research mission, which carried 10 instruments, would become a beacon for the development of future Earth observation satellites. In orbit for 10 years, double its projected lifespan, this flagship mission provided science with a wealth of data on the health of our planet and climate change – a treasure trove of data that is still used today. Thanks to the Heritage Space Programme, ESA ensures these precious data are preserved and made accessible for future generations.

Learn more about Envisat: https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/Envisat

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  1. so the sat is still up there, no decommissioning plans, really? a big BUS size piece of space junk awaiting for a collision to make things even worst… jeez ESA thanks for that

  2. Also based on another comment: besides the enormous amount of useful data that Envisat provided, we cannot ignore that 20 years after launch Envisat is also one of the biggest and most dangerous pieces of space debris that will continue to orbit earth for next 150 years with a high probability of a future collision (especially given the enormous amount of satellites in orbit below Envosat), pieces coming loose and forming separate space debris, as well as a high likelihood of the vehicle eventually not completely burning up in the atmosphere and debris falling on populated areas on the ground. An accelerated de-orbit would require a lot of fuel and is still risky, raising it to a higher orbit would also be an option, but both options would cost a lot of money that ESA is probably not willing to spend.

  3. Envisat has a huge legacy in EO data – but isn't it a bit disingenuous not to mention that it is now a huge lump of space debris in a crowded orbit? There was a missed opportunity here to highlight the work ESA is doing on space debris removal.

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