Mating of the payload and service modules of Europe's largest ever environmental satellite, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Envisat, is under way at ESA's test facilities in the Netherlands. Once mated, the Envisat will be more than 10m (33ft) tall, weighing more than 8t. After mating, the satellite will undergo acoustic and vibration tests. The satellite, which is set for launch on an Ariane 5 in June 2001, will investigate global warming, climate change, ozone depletion and changes in the oceans, ice sheets, vegetation and atmospheric composition for five years.

Source: Flight International