THE EUROPEAN SPACE Agency's second remote- sensing satellite, the ERS 2, will be launched aboard Ariane flight V72 on 20 April. The Ariane 40 vehicle, with no thrust-augmentation strap-on boosters, will place the spacecraft into a circular, 780km, Sun-synchronous orbit (Flight International, 22-28 March).

The launch will open a new era of Earth observation by radar, as the ESA Council decided on 22 March to operate the ERS 2 in tandem with the ERS 1, which was launched in 1991.

The two satellites will be used to exploit the potential for synthetic-aperture-radar interferometry to map the Earth's surface with extreme accuracy.

Source: Flight International