Cryosat -2 is a research satellite of the European Space Agency to monitor the ice sheets of the earth.


Cryosat -2 is the replacement for the CryoSat ( retroactively referred to as Cryosat 1), which was lost in a launch failure in 2005. After failing the Member States decided ESA end of February 2006 to carry out a replacement mission because of the importance of the project; the original target launch date for this was October 2009., the nearly identical, but added a few redundant systems satellite was in early September at Astrium in Immenstaad completed in 2008 at Lake Constance and handed over to several months of testing, as already happened in CryoSat the IABG. The mission was initially for three years, but it was won because of the good status of the satellite and the high quality data to 2017Vorlage: Future / extended in 3 years.


The main instrument aboard CryoSat 2 is SIRAL ( Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter ). It has three operating modes:

  • Low resolution, for scanning the sea surface and the stable layers of ice on the continental shelf of Antarctica,
  • Synthetic aperture to determine the density of floating ice sheets
  • Interferometric operation for precise determination of edges of the ice sheets.

Launch preparations

The launcher rocket came this time a Dnepr rocket used. The last planned launch date in December 2009 had to be postponed to 2010 due to overloading of the launch site in Baikonur. Once the start date has been set to February 25, he was moved to April due to problems of the launcher. On April 1, 2010, CryoSat -2 mounted on the launcher and made ​​ready to start in the coming days.

Mission History

The launch of an underground missile silo took place on 8 April 2010 at 13:57 UTC clock. After 17 minutes of flight time, the successful separation of the satellite has been confirmed by the advanced level. Previously the senior pulled the payload behind him, making the payload fairing could slip away to the rear. Thus the intended orbit was precisely achieved than with other carriers.

The first records were released on July 20, 2010, the instruments were then still calibrated by comparing measurements with data from aircraft herflogen under the satellite orbit. The first complete map was available in June 2011.