(Credits ESA)

The ERS-2 satellite’s main mission is to observe Earth, in particular its atmosphere and ocean. Built by ESA, the European Space Agency, it carries several instruments, including a radar altimeter.

ERS-2 was launched in April 1995 as the follow-on from ERS-1, with which it was used in tandem from August 1995 to June 1996, their identical orbits (35 days) having a one-day shift. Since 22 June 2003, ERS-2’s onboard tape recorder used for the altimeter data has experienced a number of failures. This means that altimeter data are unavailable except for when the satellite is within visibility of ESA’s ground stations over Europe, North Atlantic, the Arctic and western North America.

In July 2011, ERS-2 is retired by bringing down to a lower orbit. These deorbiting procedures are done while the fuel is still sufficient to make the careful manoeuvres.

Satellite ERS-2
Launched 21 April 1995
Mission: Observe Earth and its environment
Altitude: 785 km
Inclination: 98.52°

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