Encyclopedia Astronautica
Cryosat


European earth resources radar satellite. CryoSat carried a radar altimeter to acquire accurate measurements of the thickness of floating sea ice so that annual variations could be detected.

It would also permit survey the surface of ice sheets accurately enough to detect small changes. After a seven-year development program, the spacecraft was lost due to a software error in the guidance of the Rokot launch vehicle that was to have placed it in orbit.

CryoSat carried a radar altimeter to acquire accurate measurements of the thickness of floating sea ice so that annual variations could be detected. It would also permit survey the surface of ice sheets accurately enough to detect small changes. After a seven-year development program, the spacecraft was lost due to a software error in the guidance of the Rokot launch vehicle that was to have placed it in orbit. Since it operated in SAR and Interferometric modes, the altimeter was called SIRAL (SAR Interferometric Radar Altimeter). CryoSat would have orbited at an unusually high inclination, reaching latitudes of 88 North and South. CryoSat would have achieved improved spatial resolution of 250 m in the along-track direction using the Synthetic Aperture technique.

CryoSat's orbit was not sun-synchronous and would have gone through frequent eclipse phases. This presented thermal challenges in the satellite design. CryoSat also did not have any deployable solar panels - - in fact the satellite had no moving parts at all, except for some valves in the propulsion system. The solar panels were fixed to the satellite body, forming a 'roof' at an optimized angle, which provided adequate power under all orbital conditions and still fitted within the launch vehicle.

Cryosat had an intended mission duration of 3.5 years in its non Sun-synchronous, circular 717 km orbit inclined at 92 degrees. The payload consisted of the SIRAL; the DORIS receiver (which received signals from a global network of radio beacons for orbit determination); a laser retroreflector; an X-band antenna (to transmit the huge volume of SIRAL measurement data to the ground when the satellite was above the horizon at Kiruna, Sweden); an S-band helix antenna (to receive telecommands from the ground and transmit status and monitoring information); and three star trackers. The loss of the spacecraft on launch brought to a sorry end a seven-year development program. Milestones included:

  • 8 October 2005 - CryoSat mission lost due to an anomaly in the launch sequence
  • 26 September 2005 - CryoSat sealed into payload fairing
  • September 2005 - CryoSat arrives at launch site in Plesetsk, Russia
  • July 2005 - Environmental testing successfully completed at IABG
  • June-July 2005 - Start of Flight Acceptance Review
  • March 2005 - Sea-ice validation campaign carried out in Baltic Sea.
  • October 2004 - Start of integrations of the SIRAL instrument into the spacecraft at IABG (Ottobrunn, Germany).
  • September 2004 - Pre-launch series of validation campaigns completed in Arctic.
  • September 2004 - Mass properties, separation and vibration tests completed at IABG (Ottobrunn, Germany).
  • August 2004 - Spacecraft integration completed at Astrium GmbH - shipped to IABG for environmental testing.
  • June 2004 - First of the six Arctic validation campaigns successfully completed.
  • June 2004 - Integration of the spacecraft at the Prime Contractor Astrium GmbH's facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
  • April 2004 - Critical Design Review
  • March 2004 - In preparation for a series of validation campaigns in the Arctic, the ASIRAS (Airborne Synthetic Aperture and Interferometric Radar Altimeter System) instrument, which simulates CryoSat measurements from an aircraft, was successfully tested over Svalbard, Norway.
  • October 2003 - Installation and testing of payload data processing facility began at the ground station in Kiruna, Sweden.
  • September 2003 - Draft CryoSat Validation Implementation Plan released.
  • July 2003 - Ground Segment Design Review successfully completed. Industrial integration of scientific data processing algorithms begins.
  • June 2003 - First part of Space Segment Critical Design Review successfully completed. EADS Astrium GmbH began integration of the spacecraft in Friedrichshaven, Germany.
  • July 2002 - Rokot selected as launcher for CryoSat
  • February 2002 - Signature with Astrium as prime contractor for the satellite development
  • July 2001 - Start of construction phases C/D
  • March 2001 - Phase B completed
  • August 2000 - Selection of industrial consortia finalized. Start of phase B
  • February 2000 - Kick-off for feasibility study
  • April 1999 - CryoSat selected
  • January/February 1999 - Evaluation of proposals
  • July 1998 - Call for proposals

Gross mass: 669 kg (1,474 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 633 kg (1,395 lb).
Height: 4.60 m (15.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.20 m (7.20 ft).
First Launch: 2005.10.08.
Last Launch: 2010.04.08.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • UR-100N The UR-100N was designed as a replacement for the UR-100 at the end of its ten year storage life. Although it could be installed in the same silos, it was 50% heavier. The competing design of Yangel, the MR-UR-100, was also put into production when the Soviet hierarchy deadlocked and could not pick one design over the other. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • UR-100N Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The UR-100N was designed as a replacement for the UR-100 at the end of its ten year storage life. Although it could be installed in the same silos, it was 50% heavier. The competing design of Yangel, the MR-UR-100, was also put into production when the Soviet hierarchy deadlocked and could not pick one design over the other. More...
  • Rokot Russian all-solid orbital launch vehicle, consisting of decommissioned UR-100N ICBMs with a Briz-KM upper stage. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • ESA European agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. European Space Agency, Europe. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Cryosat: ESA's Ice Mission, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Plesetsk Plesetsk was the Soviet Union's northern cosmodrome, used for polar orbit launches of mainly military satellites, and was at one time the busiest launch centre in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union put the main launch site of Baikonur in Kazakh territory. It now seems that once the Proton rocket is retired, Baikonur will be abandoned and Plesetsk will be Russia's primary launch centre. Upgrades to existing launch facilities will allow advanced versions of the Soyuz rocket and the new Angara launch vehicle to be launched from Plesetsk. Plesetsk's major drawback was the lower net payload in geosynchronous orbit from a northern latitude launch site. However Russia is planning to remove the disadvantage by looping geosynchronous satellites around the moon, using lunar gravity to make the necessary orbital plane change. More...

Cryosat Chronology


2005 October 8 - . 15:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC133/3. LV Family: UR-100N. Launch Vehicle: Rokot. FAILURE: The first stage burned to depletion due to a missing command in the software sequence. This resulted in the second stage failing to separate.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • CryoSat - . Mass: 717 kg (1,580 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: ESA. Manufacturer: EADS Astrium. Class: Earth. Type: Sea satellite. Spacecraft: CryoSat. COSPAR: F20051008A. Summary: ESA Earth Explorer 1 mission failed to orbit. The satellite was to have used radar altimetry for environmental survey of polar ice with great accuracy. Delayed from November 2004, March 25, June 24, July 11, September 15 and 27, 2005..

2010 April 8 - . 13:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC109. Launch Pad: LC109/95. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: Dnepr. LV Configuration: Dnepr s/n D-14.
  • Cryosat 2 - . Mass: 720 kg (1,580 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: Makeyev. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: Cryosat. USAF Sat Cat: 36508 . COSPAR: 2010-013A. Apogee: 724 km (449 mi). Perigee: 713 km (443 mi). Inclination: 92.0000 deg. Period: 99.20 min. Summary: Satellite carried a Ku-band radar to study the thickness of the polar ice caps. Launched to fulfill mission of Cryosat 1, which failed to reach orbit in 2005..

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