CryoSat: ESA's Ice Explorer Mission: Three Years in Operations. Status and Achievements
Parrinello, Tommaso1; Mardle, Nic2; Badessi, Stefano1; Hoyos Ortega, Berta3; Bouzinac, Catherine1; Frommknecht, Bjorn1; Davidson, Malcolm3; Cullen, Robert3; Fornari, Marco3; Michele, Scagliola4

CryoSat-2 was launched on the 8th April 2010 and it is the first European ice mission dedicated to monitoring precise changes in the thickness of polar ice sheets and floating sea ice over a 3-year period. Cryosat-2 carries an innovative radar altimeter called the Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Altimeter (SIRAL) with two antennas and with extended capabilities to meet the measurement requirements for ice-sheets elevation and sea-ice freeboard. Initial results have shown that data is of high quality thanks to an altimeter that is behaving exceptional well within its design specifications. Scope of this paper is to describe the current mission status and the main scientific achievements since the start of the science phase including programmatic highlights for the next four years