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21 July 2011

End of ERS-2 mission after 15 years

ERS-2 was de-orbitated on 6th July, ending a 15 years long mission of earth observation. For us, this was also the celebration of the 20 years of CERSAT initially created and funded in support to ERS mission.

The first burn to lower the orbit took place the 6th July morning at 1:27 UCT. The burn was 5 minutes long and all systems worked as expected.
The last phase of de-orbitation (passivation) will start towards end of August / beginning of September, when a number of long manoeuvres will exhaust the fuel and finally the batteries and communications will be disconnected.

The science mission ended 4'th July with the orbit # 84719.

The last images were the following:

  • Ice: Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier (3'rd July; for this a special manoeuvre has been done to get optimal baselines with 0.7 m)
  • Ocean: Caribbean
  • Land: Rome => this was the very last image right before the payload has been switched-off (click on the image above)

The final disposal altitude will be 570 km since at this altitude ESA can maintain a 1 day repeat orbit ensuring an optimal station coverage.