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Science from space

Press release issued: 28 February 2002

Science from space

Scientists working at the Bristol Glaciology Centre at the University of Bristol will be staying up all night to watch the lift-off of the largest and most powerful Earth observation satellite ever to be launched by the European Space Agency. The satellite, called ENVISAT, is 25 metres high, ten metres wide and weighs over eight tons.

Fully equipped, ENVISAT will have ten instruments on board which will be of immense importance for monitoring the world's climate system from space. The satellite will deliver data for five years.

Dr Jonathan Bamber, a lecturer at the Bristol Glaciology Centre, says: "This is a major event in European space science. We shall be using data collected by the new satellite to watch how the Earth's snow and ice responds to changes in the climate and to learn more about their interaction with the oceans and atmosphere.

Glaciers, ice caps and sea ice are believed to offer one of the earliest indications of a global warming signal. Bristol scientists will be using the new satellite to monitor the 'health' of ice on the planet."

The launch of ENVISAT, from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, is scheduled for 1.10 am in the early morning of March 1. The launch vehicle is Ariane 5. A count-down clock and live web coverage can be viewed at

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Thursday, 28-Feb-2002 11:33:34 GMT

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