Airbus Defence and Space

CryoSat-2 – the icy mission is hotting up

The Airbus Defence and Space-built ice-monitoring satellite CryoSat-2 leaves for the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

As the European Space Agency’s Airbus Defence and Space-built ice-monitoring satellite leaves for the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, things are hotting up for CryoSat-2. In late afternoon on 12 January, an Antonov AN 124 airlifter took off from Munich’s Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport, headed for a stopover at Uljanovsk in Russia, prior to reaching its final destination of Baikonur. Airbus Defence and Space engineers are targeting 25 February 2010 to get the satellite ready for launch. Cryosat-2 will investigate whether, and to what extent, the Earth’s polar ice caps are changing.

The polar regions play a vital role in the Earth’s climate and ecosystems.

Scientists assume that the polar ice masses will retreat considerably due to global warming; up to now, however, there is little selective data on these large, unpopulated and difficult-to-access regions. The radar satellite CryoSat-2, being developed and built by Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency, will remedy this information deficit and provide a global overview for researchers.

EnvironmentCryoSat