ESA have announced that contact has been lost with Envisat. Initial contact was lost over the ground station at Esrange, northern Sweden, on April 8th. ESA has established a review board and are working on the resolution of the problem.
Envisat was launched in 2002. The design lifetime was 5 years and the satellite has exceeded expectations. However, ESA has yet to replace key instruments such as the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) and Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS). Whilst Cryosat can provide some coverage of radar altimetery needs the loss of an ESA C-band SAR and ocean colour instrument is serious. ASAR and MERIS are fundamental to a range of GMES services, scientific investigations and longer term monitoring projects. The loss of ASAR, an instrument I use regularly ( I downloaded data today for example from the rolling archive), would leave ESA scientists without access to C-band SAR data for the first time in 20 years.
On a personal note it would royally mess with my research which was already suffering from the failures of ALOS PALSAR and AMSR-E on EOS. Now if only the EC could get their collective fingers out and guarantee funding for Sentinel mission operations….