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back to article Euro climate probe Envisat silenced, boffins baffled

Engineers at the European Space Agency have lost contact with their environment-studying satellite Envisat, which stopped sending data five days ago. Envisat, the largest Earth observation spacecraft ever built, has been beaming back information about our world's land, atmosphere, oceans and ice caps for the last ten years. The …

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Black Helicopters

Obviously it was telling the truth about climate change....

..which is not allowed

:-)

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Re: Obviously it was telling the truth about climate change....

Delete as appropriate; It was hacked by [oil-company-funded hackers / greenpeace activists] to ensure the truth about [global warming / climate change] remained suppressed!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Obviously it was telling the truth about climate change....

evidently, it was the Merkins with their X 37

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Bronze badge

Re: Obviously it was telling the truth about climate change....

There's a cover-up without any shadow of doubt. On the 11th April the Reg was telling the world that Antarctic ice is above average.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/11/bering_sea_ice_cover/

"... the sea ice around the Antarctic coasts is above average by 452,000 km2, so overall the planet's sea ice is at the moment slightly above average in extent "

News from Envisat on its 10th birthday, on the 5th April, just before it gave up the ghost, painted a very different picture.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Envisat/SEMDWMEWF0H_0.html

"Satellite observes rapid ice shelf disintegration in Antarctic."

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Withstood twice...

...the expected life-time.

It's good to know some stuffs are working great.

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Yag
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Re: Withstood twice...

You should take a look at this litt'l fella called Opportunity, tirelessly peeking around Mars for the last seven years instead of the expected 90 days of the original mission :)

Woops, sorry, it's last "land-day" was the 25 January, so it's not seven years, but eight.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Withstood twice...

And do not forget the wonderful Voyager probes, the first launched in 1977, first man made object to escape the main solar system and still communicating with NASA's Deep Space Network.

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Silver badge

Better check its internal logs

Maybe it got too warm, or was really cooling, or used to be much hotter than it is now.

I'm sure a few talented philosphers climatologists could keep disagreeing with each other and slagging each other off in the popular press, about WHY it failed, to keep themselves on the gravy train for life.

That IS the name of the game, isn't it?

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Alien

Re: Better check its internal logs

It was aliens.

They were fed up with all the arguing.

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Cool!!!

"Mission controllers immediately declared a spacecraft emergency"

That's my favourite sentence ever.

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Joke

Re: Cool!!!

I bet it involved changing the light bulb...

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Go

so ?

The sat lastet twice as long as expected, but they are wondering why it failed ? Maybe 10 years of radiation ?

Just shoot up the follow-on sat and get over it.

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Ru
Trollface

Re: so ?

Because it might have broken due to some flaw that might exist in the next generation of satellites too? Because it would be a shame to just abandon a multi billion Euro investment because they couldn't be bothered to press the right reboot button? Because there may be valuable science associated with diagnosing what went wrong that could inform the design of future satellites?

Just because something is living on borrowed time, doesn't mean that doing the bare minimum to try and keep it going is a stupid idea. You may feel the same way in a couple of decades.

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Black Helicopters

Conspiracy!

Evidently it uncovered warmologically inconvenient truths...

Cue suspenseful musical stuff...

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Alien

Unlucky cosmic ray strike on the electronics?

My completely uneducated guess (although I know they do a lot of work on redundancy and shielding and such like on these things).

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Joke

This is your satellite help line

For communication problems, press 1

For launch failures, press 2

For attitude problems, press 3

For software failure, press 4,

To speak directly with some guy who knows nothing about the problem either, press 0

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Is your satellite dish pointing the right way?

Have you tried rebooting the satellite?

Did you try switching it on and off?

Have you tried reinstalling Windows?

How old is your software? I am sorry, we do not support that version anymore

<CLICK>

Seriously though, excellent engineering to keep something working for 10 years, we are so used to things failing just outside of warranty.

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Poor planning...

to only have the replacements due to launch next year - meaning that there was expected to be a 6 year gap between the expected life of ENVISAT and its replacement...

To calibrate these things you really need the new one up before the old one stops working and now there will be at least a 12 month gap and no chance to calibrate the instruments against each other. Instead, there will be an "adjustment" about which everyone with a dog in the fight will claim was fiddled to support the other groups pet theories.

Poor job all round!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor planning...

It is one thing to plan to have replacement satellites but another to actually get a group of countries to cough up the fairly substantial sums of money required to make it happen - particularly during a period of economic turmoil, caused by the same group of countries having spent vast sums of borrowed money.

As it stands, whilst the first Sentinel satellite may be paid for, the same cannot be said for the ongoing operations and ground facilities. There is a distinct possibility that the Sentinel satellite may not be launched but mothballed until there are funds to operate it. If Envisat is subsequently declared lost, I guess that will assist the decision making process.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor planning...

To add to AC 17:34's comments:

http://www.spacenews.com/earth_observation/120112-dordain-cancel-sentinel.html

So they have spent a *lot* on building some pretty fancy birds, but no agreement to pay for operating them. Sounds fairly typical of EU bureaucracy...

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Re: Poor planning...

ESA is not part of the EU (although the EU is a member of ESA). So this has nothing to do with 'EU bureaucracy'.

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Anonymous Coward

Recent News

Indicated a large solar flare followed by a period of increased activity. If I remember correctly satellites were subceptible as were power interuptions.

Or its aliens

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Sentinal 1

Ah, that one takes me back.

"Sentinal One" was the hologram boss of "The Young Sentinals," rebranded "The Space Sentinals" at some point. Great cartoon.

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Anonymous Coward

Just saw a bright light

Heading nearly vertically downwards, then made a sudden sharp left turn and winked out.

No idea what the heck it was, must have been about 10.25 or there abouts.

Seemed not to be a plane, it "blinked" like the ISS sometimes does but the ISS follows a left to right trajectory.

It seemed to be tumbling based on the fading light effect..

Any ideas?

Looked very yellow, didn't seem to resemble any satellite I've ever seen.

AC/DC

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5 Years

5 Years was the warrenty period, not the expected life. Anything that fails within the initial mission life is an early failure.

And I've suddenly got tired of reading this misrepresentation, ok? Satelites are expected to last past their initial mission life. Get used to it. Talk to the designers and find out what the expected life is, or quote the initial mission life without the trite misinterpretation.

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Wouldn't it be irronic ...

It is going to have an uncontrolled re-entry, which makes it an almost certainty that it will crash land in a pond wiping out the last known population of the lesser spotted natter newt toad. Now that would be ironic.

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