The National Space Institute is part of the CRYOVEX campaign, the object of which is to provide pre-launch reference datasets for Cryosat2. NSI researchers undertake measurements of sea ice thickness and make Ice Profiles from measurements with alimeters from helicopters. The campaign is aimed in particular at understanding miscellaneous sources of error: snow loading, ice density, preferential sampling and various freeboard measurement errors. These experiments are critical in two ways. Firstly, independent ice-thickness measurements provide a means by which ESA can test CryoSat-2's performance, guaranteeing that the measurements are correct. Secondly, the results from the ground experiments will be used to correct CryoSat-2 data, which can arise due to the complexity and variability of natural ice surfaces.
CryoSat-2 is aimed at observing changes in the Earth’s cryosphere, i.e. changes to the ice- and snow-covered parts of the Earth.
Extensive validation campaigns to gather a multitude of ground truth measurements were carried out in the Arctic prior to the launch of the first CryoSat mission and now continue for CryoSat-2. The CryoSat2 Validation Experiment, CRYOVEX, is a joint effort of the National Space Institute and the European Space Agency ESA (in cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, AWI).
Cryosat-2 is scheduled for launch in 2009.