- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Rocket Snag Will Delay Launch of Spacecraft to Monitor Polar Ice
19 February 2010 11:38 am
The European Space Agency (ESA) has delayed the planned 25 February launch of its CryoSat-2 spacecraft because of concerns about its launcher, a Russian Dnepr rocket. The Dnepr is a converted intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that in its military role had a 97% launch success rate. As a satellite launcher it has had one failure in 13 launches. ESA says that it is concerned that the second stage steering motor does not have sufficient fuel to ensure CryoSat-2 is placed safely into its required orbit, which is highly inclined (88° from the equator) to give it maximum coverage of polar regions. Ukrainian launch company Yuzhnoye is working to solve the problem, but the launch may be delayed by as much as a month.
CryoSat-2 carries a radar altimeter optimized to measure the extent and thickness of polar ice. It aims to give a more complete picture of the changes taking place in polar regions because of climate change. The original CryoSat spacecraft was destroyed during launch in 2005. It was being carried by a different converted ICBM, a Russian Rockot.
Meanwhile, ESA has chosen three proposed space missions for further study with a view to launching two of them some time after 2017. A total of 52 proposals were whittled down in stages over the past few years to a final three which will now go through a final definition stage before a final decision is made in 2011. The three are Euclid, which will study dark matter and dark energy; Plato, aimed at exoplanets; and Solar Orbiter, which will give us the closest view yet of the sun.