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Updated February 6th, 2024 at 18:16 IST

European Remote Satellite ERS-2 to Crash on Earth After 13-Year Mission in Space | Read Details

Launched in 1995 as the successor to ERS-1, ERS-2 quickly became a cornerstone of Earth observation technology.

European Remote Satellite ERS-2 to Crash on Earth After 13-Year Mission in Space | Read Details
European Remote Satellite ERS-2 to Crash on Earth After 13-Year Mission in Space | Read Details | Image:X
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New Delhi: In a poignant conclusion to its illustrious journey spanning 16 years, the European Remote Sensing satellite ERS-2 is poised to embark on its final descent into Earth's atmosphere. After 13 years of gradual orbital decay, the venerable satellite, which revolutionized our understanding of Earth and climate change, is set to bid adieu. Launched in 1995 as the successor to ERS-1, ERS-2 quickly became a cornerstone of Earth observation technology. Equipped with cutting-edge instruments including an imaging synthetic aperture radar, a radar altimeter, and sensors for ocean-surface temperature and atmospheric ozone measurements, the satellite embarked on a mission to unravel the mysteries of our planet.

However, in 2011, the European Space Agency (ESA) made the decision to retire ERS-2 and initiated a meticulously planned deorbiting process to adhere to space debris mitigation strategies. Now, as the satellite's reentry date looms around mid-February 2024, ESA's Space Debris Office is diligently monitoring its trajectory in collaboration with international partners.

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ERS-2's contributions to science have been monumental. From documenting the shrinking polar ice caps to tracking changes in land surfaces, sea levels, and atmospheric chemistry, the satellite has been pivotal in our understanding of environmental dynamics. Its role in disaster management, providing crucial insights during floods and earthquakes, has been indispensable as well.

Moreover, the legacy of ERS-2 extends far beyond its own mission. The technologies it pioneered laid the foundation for subsequent missions such as Envisat, MetOp, Earth Explorer, and Copernicus Sentinels, which continue to benefit from its trailblazing instruments.

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As ERS-2 prepares for its final descent, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing imperative to manage space debris and ensure the sustainability of future space endeavors. 

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Published February 6th, 2024 at 18:16 IST

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