SpaceX Successfully Launches ESA’s EarthCARE Mission: A New Chapter in Climate Research

28th May 2024
SpaceX Successfully Launches ESA’s EarthCARE Mission: A New Chapter in Climate Research

The crucial moment for both space exploration and climate science: SpaceX successfully launched the European Space Agency’s (ESA) EarthCARE mission aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch took place at 23:20 UTC from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

A New Era in Climate Research

The EarthCARE (Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) mission is set to provide unprecedented insights into the complex interactions between clouds, aerosols, and solar radiation. These interactions play a critical role in the Earth’s climate system, influencing weather patterns and climate change.

RELEVANT: Mission EarthCARE – The UK-Built Climate Detective Satellite

Mission Highlights

Credit: ESA
  • Launch and Deployment: The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage performed flawlessly, boosting EarthCARE into space before separating and executing a boost-back burn for its return to SLC-4E Landing Zone 4.
  • Satellite Operations: Hartebeesthoek station in South Africa successfully captured the initial signals from the satellite in space. The telemetry data is now being received with clarity at ESA mission control in Germany.
  • Ground Station Contact: The next crucial step is the acquisition of signal from the Hartebeesthoek ground station in South Africa, expected approximately 40 minutes after launch.

Collaborative Effort

The EarthCARE mission is a testament to international collaboration. Spearheaded by ESA, the mission also involves significant contributions from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Over 75 organisations, including 23 from the United Kingdom, have contributed to this project over the last three decades. Notable academic contributions come from institutions such as the University of Reading, the University of Leicester, Imperial College London, and the University of Oxford.

Stay tuned for more updates as the EarthCARE mission progresses. We will keep you informed with the latest developments and insights from this groundbreaking mission. Discover all the details of the mission in our previous article.

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