Thursday, April 08, 2010

European Ice Mission Launches

A European Space Agency satellite was launched aboard a Russian rocket today from an old Cold War Silo in Kazakhstan.

A RS-20 Dnepr rocket departed it's missile silo with the CryoSat 2 spacecraft at 9:57 am EDT (1357 GMT) today, beginning a three year mission.

The SS-18 ICBM was pushed out of the silo and then light it's core engine to send it off in a southerly direction.

The main stage burned it's liquid propellant for nearly two minutes as the rocket aimed toward the south pole.

CryoSat will orbit the polar regions of the earth studying the ice regions and thickness of the caps for any signs of warming affects.

Scientists working on the CryoSat project mentioned today, "We know the extent of Arctic sea ice is diminishing. Now we need to know if it is also getting thinner."

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