Huge, Mysteriously Silent Satellite Spotted by Another Spacecraft


Tariq Malik
SPACE.com
April 23, 2012

A massive European satellite the size of a school bus that has mysteriously stopped communicating with Earth has been spotted by another satellite in orbit.

The giant Envisat satellite, which is the world’s largest imaging satellite for civilian use, was photographed in stunning detail by a French spacecraft that is also designed to snap high-resolution images of Earth, officials with the European Space Agency (ESA) said Friday (April 20).

The photo of Envisat in space reveals that the $2.9 billion spacecraft is intact and that its huge solar array is deployed. Envisat is a huge satellite that weighs about 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms). It is about 30 feet long (9 meters) and 16 feet wide (5 m), not counting the solar wing.

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