French satellite deploys deorbit booms, cuts orbital stay from 73 to 25 years

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — France’s Microscope satellite, launched into a 711-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit in April 2016, has successfully deployed two inflatable booms to reduce its in-orbit retirement from 73 years to the 25-year deorbit recommended by international guidelines and required by French law.

The French space agency, CNES, on Oct. 18 said the two booms were successfully deployed and that the 303-kilogram Microscope was passivated — meaning its chemical, electrical and other energy sources were drained — to prepare for the gradual descent into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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