Mission type Environmental
Operator ESA
Website ESA - CryoSat
Mission duration 3 years (planned)
Failed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer EADS Astrium
Launch mass 750 kilograms (1,650 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 8 October 2005, 15:02:00 (2005-10-08T15:02Z) UTC
Rocket Rokot/Briz-KM
Launch site Plesetsk 133/3
Contractor Eurokot
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Epoch Planned

CryoSat-1, also known as just CryoSat, was a European Space Agency satellite which was lost in a launch failure in 2005. It was to have been operated as part of the CryoSat programme to study the Earth's polar ice caps.[1]

The CryoSat spacecraft was intended to operate in low Earth orbit for three years.[2] It had a mass of 750 kilograms (1,650 lb)[3] Its primary instrument, SIRAL, was to have used radar to determine and monitor the spacecraft's altitude in order to measure the elevation of the ice, and for radar imaging of the ice caps. A second instrument, DORIS, was to have been used to calculate precisely the spacecraft's orbit.[4] It also carried an array of retroreflectors which would have allowed measurements to be made from the ground to verify the orbital data provided by DORIS.[2][4]

CryoSat was launched from Site 133/3 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 15:02:00 UTC on 8 October 2005.[5] The launch was conducted by Eurockot, using a Rokot carrier rocket with a Briz-KM upper stage. The command to shut down the rocket's second stage engine was missing from the flight control system, and consequently the stage burned to depletion.[6] This prevented the second stage from separating from the Briz-KM, and as a result the rocket was unable to achieve orbit. It reentered over the Arctic Ocean, north of Greenland.[7][8] A replacement satellite, CryoSat-2, was successfully launched in 2010.[9]


  1. ^ "CryoSat: an icy mission". European Space Agency. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Cryosat-1". NASA International Laser Ranging Service. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Cryosat 1,2". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "ILRS Mission Support". Cryosat-1. NASA International Laser Ranging Service. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  5. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Rockot". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "CryoSat Mission lost due to launch failure". European Space Agency. 8 October 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "CryoSat Mission has been lost". Eurockot. 8 October 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  9. ^ Jones, Tamera (8 April 2010). "Successful launch for ESA's CryoSat-2 ice mission". Natural Environment Research Council. Retrieved 19 July 2010.