My Dailylife #withariane
Ariane in our daily lives
For many decades – sometimes without us being really aware – space has played a crucial role in our society and our way of life. Each day, we benefit directly from satellites that have been send by an Ariane launcher. There are hundreds of satellites, circling constantly above us at more than 30,000 km/h. Science, navigation, telecommunications, Earth observation, meteorology – all these applications have rapidly become essential to our daily lives. Meteorological satellites, for example, collect data and provide images allowing meteorologists to study weather trends and make increasingly more accurate and reactive forecasts. Tirelessly, our weather professionals can study in real time the formation and drift of weather phenomena such as typhoons, storms and hurricanes – providing earlier warning of impending natural catastrophes and allowing us to deal with their consequences
My day with Ariane
Do you find your morning cereal delicious? Well, you can thank meteorological satellites that provide massive amounts of data in real time, allowing farmers to monitor their crops and deal with insufficient water, nitrogen or fertilizer throughout the growing season. Being able to forecast temperatures and precipitation helps farmers to protect their crops and to better manage them. Are you a social media fan, and like telling your story on Instagram? The photo of your burger will go around the world before your followers will see it thanks to telecommunications satellites orbited by an Ariane launcher. You want to meet up with your friends for lunch, but don’t know where that “great new tapas restaurant” is? Locating you and giving you directions is only possible thanks to satellites that have gathered data used by your on-line mapping app. Been watching the World Cup this summer? You wouldn’t have been able to see live broadcasts of the matches without satellites.
The Earth seen from Space
Satellites play a crucial role in scientific observation, and tell us much about changes on Earth. Over the past 40 years, the resolution of images produced by satellites has steadily increased, from 80 metres to 50 centimetres today. This makes them precious tools, allowing us to respond to major threats such as global warming and other natural catastrophes: earthquakes, floods, cyclones and fires. These global challenges for the 21st century couldn’t be quantified and understood without the data harvested by satellites. Advance warnings through satellites helps us to protect people, their possessions, crops and homes.
For example, our oceans are constantly monitored by satellites that measure waves, currents, temperature, salinity and sea level. Experts can generate oceanographic forecasts up to two weeks ahead. This is thanks to data from satellites like the Topex/Poseidon launched by an Ariane 4 in August 1992, working in tandem with marine floatation devices like the Argo system.
An early example: Envisat
In March 2002, on the 11th Ariane 5 launch operated by Arianespace, Europe’s eight-tonne environmental satellite Envisat was placed into a Sun-synchronous polar orbit for the European Space Agency. For over a decade, Envisat provided a wealth of Earth observation data for scientists as well as many service providers. Together with input from the ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites, this flow of data has allowed specialists to follow evolving environmental phenomena such as the retreat of the polar ice pack and changes in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Throughout its mission, Envisat measured things like ocean currents, sea levels, ocean surface temperature and chlorophyll concentrations. It also allowed us to monitor changes in air pollution by measuring carbon dioxide and methane levels in some geographical regions. In addition, its imaging radar monitored shifts in the Earth’s crust caused by earthquakes and volcano eruptions, giving us a better understanding of tectonic mechanisms and volcanism. All this activity increased our understanding helping us to mitigate climate change while preserving civil security.