Minimize Mission Summary


Envisat is the most ambitious Earth Observation mission developed and operated by ESA. Both the satellite size (26 m x 10 m x 5 m, 8000 kg) and the number of on-board sensors are unique.

Together with its predecessors, ERS-1 and ERS-2, the Envisat mission deeply contributed to expanding our knowledge in the Earth sciences and to develop operational applications related to environmental monitoring.

Mission Duration: Envisat was launched by Ariane-5 on 28 February 2002 and failed on 08 April 2012 after 10 years of activity, doubling the nominal lifetime of 5 years.

The satellite carried nine sensors (as described in the table below), which allowed the mission to continue and improve upon the geophysical measurements which began with ERS-1 and ERS-2.

Envisat was operated in a 35-day repeat cycle, like ERS-2. In 2010, the orbit was modified into a 30-day cycle to further extend the mission lifetime with the objective of providing a bridge to the Copernicus Sentinel missions (Sentinel-1, Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-5P). Unfortunately a major failure occurred in April 2012, ending the Envisat mission a few weeks after celebrating its 10th anniversary of operations.

On-board sensors
AATSR Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer Optical/IR Radiometer
ASAR Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar C-Band SAR
DORIS Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning Integrated by Satellite Radio Frequency Orbitography
GOMOS Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars Ultra-Violet and Optical Spectrometer
LRR Laser Retro Reflector Passive Optical Reflector
MERIS Medium-Resolution Visible and Near-IR Spectrometer Imaging Spectrometer
MIPAS Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding Limb-Viewing Infrared Interferometer
MWR Microwave Radiometer Two-Channel Nadir View Radiometer
RA-2 Radar Altimeter 2 Pulsed Radar
SCIAMACHY Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography Multi-Channel Nadir + Limb View UV/VIS/IR Spectrometers

More information on Envisat can be found in the Directory of the eoPortal, which is operated by ESA.