Airbus Defence and Space

Europe’s largest Earth observation satellite

Envisat has spent the last decade delivering valuable data for environmental and climate research

Weighing in at eight tonnes, 10 metres long and with 10 scientific instruments on board, Envisat is the most sophisticated and capable Earth observation satellite ever launched into space.On 1 March 2002 (28 February 28 local time), an Ariane 5 took off from the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana placing Envisat into an 800 km low Earth orbit. Weighing in at eight tonnes, 10 metres long and with 10 scientific instruments on board, Envisat is the most sophisticated and capable Earth observation satellite ever launched into space.

Since its deployment, Envisat has supplied data on trends in ozone depletion, air pollutants and greenhouse gases, the behaviour of polar ice sheets, sea surface temperature changes, changes in land cover, and many other aspects. Originally scheduled to last five years, the mission was extended twice.

Part of the data recorded by Envisat is made available to researchers and users in near-real time, while the remainder is processed within a medium-term time frame.

 

Envisat facts & figures

Weight:

8.2 tonnes, including 2.2 tonnes of instruments

Power:

6.6 kW at end of life (including 2.0 kW for instruments)

Dimensions:

Deployed in orbit: 25 x 10 x 7 m

Launch configuration (main body): 10 x 4 x 4 m

Orbit:

800 km, polar, sun-synchronous, 35 day repeat cycle

Over the last decade, Envisat has recorded a whole series of impressive achievements in many other areas, including a portrait of the Earth’s land surface completed by MERIS in 2007 that at the time was the most detailed ever, and a unique map of global land use produced in 2009.

Chosen by ESA as prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space took on overall responsibility for the development of the mission and of the complete system. Airbus Defence and Space also managed the development and manufacture of the satellite and five of its instruments, while the remaining system components were subcontracted.

 

Click on the picture below to find out  more about the Airbus Defence and Space-designed instruments which enable Envisat to detect forest fires, glacier movements and ocean temperature changes.


Airbus Defence and Space also managed the development and manufacture of the satellite and five of its instruments, while the remaining system components were subcontracted

Links

Where is Envisat?

Earth ObservationEnvironmentEnvisat