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RS-20 Blasts Off from Baikonur. / April 8, 2010 /

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile RS-20 was launched from Baikonur on April 8, at 17:57 MSK, with auxiliary payload of European spacecraft CryoSat-2. The spacecraft successfully separated at 18:13 MSK.

From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change and the role it plays in our ’Earth system’. The CryoSat-2 satellite was built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium. The satellite is in a polar orbit, reaching latitudes of 88°. This is closer to the poles than earlier Earth observation satellites, resulting in an additional area of about 4.6 million sq km being covered. This extra coverage amounts to an area larger than all 27 European Union member states put together. The combination of the technology onboard and a polar orbit will provide evidence to further our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate.

Now that CryoSat-2 is safely in orbit, the Mission Control Team at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany is busy with the critical ’Launch and Early Operations Phase’.

More than 160 RS-20’s have been launched so far. 13 of them were made under Dnepr program, to loft 51 satellites for the UK, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Germany, the USA, France, Japan, Egypt, Clumbia, Thailand

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