Paris, France: The technical issue with the second stage of the Dnepr rocket that delayed the launch of European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Explorer CryoSat-2 satellite in February has now been resolved – and the new launch date of 8 April has been set.
CryoSat is Europe’s first mission dedicated to monitoring Earth’s ice fields. The advanced observation techniques being employed by the CryoSat mission will provide precise measurements on variations in the thickness of floating marine ice as well as the vast ice sheets that overlie Antarctica and Greenland. This information will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between ice and climate change.
The launch of CryoSat-2 was originally scheduled to take place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 25 February, but had to be postponed owing to a problem with the fuel reserve in the launcher’s second stage. During the investigation, the Ukrainian company responsible for the overall design of the Dnepr launcher, Yuzhnoye SDO, and the company that develops the launcher’s control system, Hartron-Arkos, confirmed that the ratio of fuel to oxidiser could be adjusted to improve the performance of the second stage engine. The modifications have since been made and validated, and consequently the new launch date of 8 April at 15:57 CEST (13:57 UT) has been agreed with ESA.