Brussels, 08 March 2002
The European Space Agency (ESA) Envisat Earth observation satellite - Europe's 'environmental eye' - has been preparing to start observing the Earth since its successful launch into orbit on 1 March.
Envisat's 70 square metres of solar array, which enable it to obtain power from the Sun, are now fully deployed. Full extension of the ASAR antenna brought an end to the 'launch and early orbit' phase.
The 'switch on and data acquisition' phase, during which each of Envisat's 10 on-board instruments will be switched on, calibrated and tested, began on 5 March. This stage is essential to guarantee the quality of the data which Envisat will provide to its users.
Once the calibration and validation activities are completed, data delivery to Envisat users is expected to begin in September this year.
For further information on Envisat, please consult the following web address: http://www.esa.int/envisat