Envisat's mission over after 10 years spent in orbit

Contact with the satellite was lost in April

Published: May 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Envisat, ESA's environmental satellite, has come to the end of its mission. Image Credit: ESA


After 10 years spent monitoring the effect of climate change on the world’s oceans, land, ice caps and atmosphere, Envisat’s days as a functioning satellite have finally come to an end as ESA declares plans to terminate the mission.

Contact with the satellite was lost on 8 April and after a month spent trying to regain control of the spacecraft, engineers have regretfully thrown in the towel.

ESA will continue to try and re-establish contact over the next few months but the likely hood of recovering Envisat is extremely low.

Despite its untimely demise, Envisat had already operated for twice as long as was expected, producing some astounding results over its 10-year lifetime.

How did Envisat help us to better understand the world we live in?

An estimated 2500 scientific publications about ocean currents and chlorophyll concentrations have been based on information provided by Envisat.

Envisat mapped the speed of ice streams in Greenland and Antarctica, creating images that have been used to update global maps of land use.

The satellite monitored the displacement of land after earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, helping scientist to understand the forces behind them and providing data which aided rescue workers after these natural disasters had occurred.


Envisat kept a close eye on sea levels and temperature, providing scientists with accurate measurements to within a tenth of a degree.

Sponsored content