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ESA Launches EarthCARE Satellite for Climate Change Study

ESA
Credit: ESA

Ibadan, 29 May 2024. – The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched the EarthCARE satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, with the confirmation signal about the satellite’s orbital status coming from the Hartebeesthoek ground station in South Africa. The mission is a joint venture between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and was designed and built by a consortium of more than 75 companies under Airbus as the prime contractor.

ESA’s Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer, or EarthCARE for short, will help address the increasing climate crisis by providing crucial information to shed new light on the complex interactions between clouds, aerosols and radiation within Earth’s atmosphere. The EarthCARE satellite is now receiving control from ESA’s European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany. As a result, the controllers will spend the next few months carefully checking and calibrating the mission as part of the commissioning phase.

Speaking on the mission, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programs, Simonetta Cheli, said, “EarthCARE is the most complex of ESA’s research missions to date. Its development, and now launch, are thanks to close cooperation with our JAXA partners, who contributed the satellite’s cloud profiling radar instrument, and all of the space industry teams involved. The mission comes at a critical time when advancing our scientific knowledge is more important than ever to understand and act on climate change, and we very much look forward to receiving its first data.”

Likewise, JAXA’s Project Manager for the cloud profiling radar, Eiichi Tomita, added, “Increasing the accuracy of global climate models by using EarthCARE data will allow us to better predict the future climate and therefore take necessary mitigation measures. We are expecting these EarthCARE data products to be remarkable.”

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