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Earth Space Science

ESA Declares Flagship Envisat Observing Satellite Lost 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-dark dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the European Space Agency has lost contact with its Envisat environmental satellite mere weeks after celebrating a full decade in orbit. Engineers have spent the last month trying to re-establish contact, and will continue to do so for another two months. "With ten sophisticated sensors, Envisat has observed and monitored Earth’s land, atmosphere, oceans and ice caps during its ten-year lifetime, delivering over a thousand terabytes of data. An estimated 2500 scientific publications so far have been based on this information, furthering our knowledge of the planet." The ESA was hoping Envisat would stay operational for another two years, until Sentinel satellites from the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative became operational.
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ESA Declares Flagship Envisat Observing Satellite Lost

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  • No problem (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday May 11, 2012 @11:03AM (#39967915) Homepage Journal

    we'll just fix it during a Shuttle mission...

    • If we had a Star Tram running it would be trivial to fix. Seriously, $2 billion and poof! Gone, no way to retrieve or repair it. This really underlines the ridiculous state of our global space industry.

    • Why? Even if a Space Shuttle were available right now, it would be much cheaper to launch a new satellite to gain those extra years. With a great likelihood, it would last much longer than those wished-for extra two years, and the amortized cost of the first two years of the new sat's lifespan would be lower than the atrocious cost of launching the Shuttle and training the crew to do the repairs (do we even know what's wrong with the sat, as we can't communicate with it?), not to mention the risk of radiati
      • Why? Even if a Space Shuttle were available right now, it would be much cheaper to launch a new satellite to gain those extra years.

        Given that a Shuttle launch only costs around $150m* USD, I suspect you're way off base. Doubly so since it cost 2.5 *billion* dollars to develop and launch in the first place. Now, admittedly you're not going to pay the full development costs the second time around, but you're still looking at probably 3-500 million plus for the new bird and nearly 200 million for the launch

        • Given that a Shuttle launch only costs around $150m* USD, I suspect you're way off base.

          Have any sources? I do. [nasa.gov]

          • That's the cost including the share of the fixed annual cost - I.E., an accounting fiction, not the actual amount that would be in the budget. As with any source, you have to be aware of the accuracy and assumptions behind it.

            See: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/space/controversy/ [faqs.org] for more information, or google about for "cost to add a shuttle flight to the manifest".

    • by b00le (714402)

      The shuttle couldn't reach its orbit, and if it could, the satellite was not designed to be worked on in orbit (unlike Hubble), and even if neither of those things were true, nobody would think it a good idea to spend around a billion dollars to try and fix a satellite 5 years past its design life span, with no idea what's wrong with it. Satellites die. Move on.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Friday May 11, 2012 @11:03AM (#39967917) Homepage Journal

    BTW - hows that whole ROHS thing working out for you?

    (I know, aerospace components have an ROHS waiver, but when we order stuff from Europe and try to use the ROHS waiver they still send us ROHS anyways half the time)

    • by b00le (714402)

      Synthetic Aperture radar porn with a 30 metre pixel size - kind of a specialised taste.

  • Using powerful waves of stupid aimed through a waveguide. Rush Limbaugh, Lord Monckton and Anthony Watts all donned the stupid-conduction helmets to power the weapon while doing their best supervillain laugh.

  • Except Europa. We can't find that one.

  • by Immerial (1093103) on Friday May 11, 2012 @01:21PM (#39970231) Homepage
    Let me guess... it had a 10-year warranty. See, this is why you need to buy the extended warranty for satellites. ;^)

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