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Envisat remains silent
Posted: Sat, Apr 21, 2012, 10:06 AM ET (1406 GMT)
Envisat seen by Pleiades (ESA) A large European earth observation satellite that stopped communicating with the ground nearly two weeks ago remains silent, although images from another satellite show the spacecraft has not suffered any major visible damage. ESA released on Friday an image of the Envisat spacecraft taken from space by the French Pleiades high-resolution imaging satellite. The image, taken as Pleiades passed within 100 kilometers of Envisat, show no major damage to the satellite, such as from an orbital debris strike. Engineers are studying the images to see if the satellite's solar panel is oriented to the Sun to permit it to generate power, which would make it easier to restore communications. ESA lost contact with Envisat on April 8 and efforts to reestablish contact has so far failed. The satellite, designed to operate for five years, recently marked ten years in orbit, although ESA officials had hoped to keep the spacecraft going until the 2013 launch of the next-generation Sentinel earth observing satellites.
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