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Mission Photos:

Courtesy of ESA

Mission Objectives:

A mission to measure change in the cryosphere, CryoSat-2 will measure the thickness of sea-ice and the surface elevation of ice sheets in both Northern and Southern hemispheres. For this, it uses an advanced radar altimeter combined with Precise Orbit Determination.

As the mission is intended to measure small secular change in a measure of distance it is necessary to use laser ranging for:

  • calibration of the altimeter and
  • support to the POD

The latter will primarily be performed with DORIS, but the SLR measurements will provide an essential independent tracking data type.

Unfortunately, the CryoSat-1 satellite was lost due to a launch failure on October 8, 2005 (ESA news release). CryoSat-2, identical to CryoSat-1, launched successfully on April 8, 2010 (ESA news release).

Mission Instrumentation:

CryoSat will have the following instrumentation onboard:

  • SAR/Inteferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL)
  • DORIS receiver
  • Retroreflector array
  • Three star trackers
Mission Parameters:
Satellite: CryoSat-1 CryoSat-2
Sponsor: ESA ESA
Expected Life: 3 years 3 years
Primary Applications: measure ice thickness measure ice thickness
Primary SLR Applications: precision orbit determination precision orbit determination
COSPAR ID: N/A 1001301
SIC Code: N/A 8006
Satellite Catalog (NORAD) Number: N/A 36508
Launch Date: October 8, 2005 April 08, 2010
NP Bin Size: 15 seconds 15 seconds
RRA Diameter: 16 cm 16 cm
RRA Shape: hemispherical hemispherical
Reflectors: 7 corner cubes (Meteor design) 7 corner cubes (Meteor design)
Orbit: circular, non sun-synchronous circular, non sun-synchronous
Inclination: 92 degrees 92 degrees
Eccentricity: 0.0 0.0
Altitude: ~720 km ~720 km
Weight: 711 kg 711 kg

Additional Information:

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