Stamp ProfileEuropa 1991Denmark Weather Satellites Issue Date: 02/05/1991A number of countries within the Conference of European Posts and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) every year issue one or more Europe stamps with common themes. Each year has its own theme, and in 1991 the theme is "European Space Flight". The Danish stamps show two weather maps taken down from weather satellites via the receiving station of Denmark's Meteorological Institute north of Copenhagen. Through the last 25 years a number of countries in Europe have cooperated on the exploitation of weather satellites. In the beginning it was especially American satellites which were used, but later - in the course of the 1970's - the European Space Agency (ESA) was formed, and it sent up its first weather satellite in 1977. Two different types of operational meteorological satellites must be distinguished: 1. The geo-stationary ones, such as e.g. the European Meteosat satellites, which are found over the Equator at an altitude of about 36,000 kilometres. At this height, satellites move just as quickly as the earth rotates, and seen from the earth it therefore looks as if they remain in the same position all the time. 2. The polar-orbiting satellites, which at altitudes of 750 to 1,000 kilometres orbit the earth at a speed of 28,000 kilometres an hour (7.8 km/second). The pictures, which the two Europe stamps are based on, were taken down from the polar-orbiting satellites (the American weather satellites NOAA 6 and 7). A satellite picture from a polar-orbiting satellite covers an area of 4,500 x 3,000 kilometres. It takes the satellite 15 minutes to photograph this large picture. Then it can produce details as in the case of the photos for the present stamps, which show an area of 400 x 400 (2 kilometres. By means of pictures from both the polar-orbiting satellites (such as NOAA) and the geo-stationary ones (such as Meteosat), meteorologists all over the world can virtually from hour to hour obtain the information, which together with other meteorological data is important for the production of their forecasts. Denmark is one of 16 European countries, which have come together for a joint European meteorological satellite project the so-called Eumetsat cooperation. Today the countries of Europe depend on information from the American polar-orbiting weather satellites, but work is in progress on the European satellite programmes, which at the end of the 1990's will be able to supplement the role of the American satellites. What Can We Use the Weather Satellites For?It is not just for fun that a great number of different types of satellites are sent in orbit around the earth. As far as the weather satellites are concerned, the purpose is naturally to ensure better and more exact surveys of the weather situation both here and now and several days ahead. Weather Forecasts on TVThe index maps which in Danish television form the basis for the discussion for the weather over the last 21 hours and the subsequent weather forecasts have been taken down from the weather satellites via the satellite receiving station of Denmark's Meteorological Institute (DMI) north of Copenhagen. Of course the weather satellites are not the only tools of the meteorologists. Weather radar; radio sonde stations (weather balloons) and observations from the ground (several hundred all over the country) yield important data. The sum of this data is processed by means of a computer on the DMI which then calculates the well-known five-day prognoses, which are brought in television, radio, newspapers etc. 50th Anniversary of the first man to travel into our spaceMonacoIssue Date: 28/09/2011Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history by becoming the first man to travel into outer space. On 12th April 1961, on board the Vostok 1 capsule, he took off from the Tyuratam-Baikonur Cosmodrome (now in Kazakhstan), then completed an orbit of 1 hour 48 minutes around the Earth. He was awarded the title of “Hero of the Soviet Union”, the highest honour of the former USSR.
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