Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Launches Satellites For Weather, Climate, Air Quality Studies

Date:
April 28, 2006
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulstion Laboratory
Summary:
Two NASA satellites were launched Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on missions to reveal the inner secrets of clouds and aerosols, tiny particles suspended in the air. Each spacecraft will transmit pulses of energy and measure the portion of the pulses scattered back to the satellite. CloudSat's Cloud-Profiling Radar is more than 1,000 times more sensitive than typical weather radar. It can detect clouds and distinguish between cloud particles and precipitation. Calipso's polarization lidar can detect aerosol particles and distinguish between aerosol and cloud particles.

Artist's concept of NASA's CloudSat spacecraft, which will provide the first global survey of cloud properties to better understand their effects on both weather and climate.
Credit: Image credit: NASA/JPL

Two NASA satellites were launched Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on missions to reveal the inner secrets of clouds and aerosols, tiny particles suspended in the air.

Related Articles


CloudSat and Calipso - Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations - thundered skyward at 3:02 a.m. PDT atop a Boeing Delta II rocket. The two satellites will eventually circle approximately 705 kilometers (438 miles) above Earth in a sun-synchronous polar orbit, which means they will always cross the equator at the same local time. Their technologies will enable scientists to study how clouds and aerosols form, evolve and interact.

"Clouds are a critical but poorly understood element of our climate," said Dr. Graeme Stephens, CloudSat principal investigator and a professor at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. "They shape the energy distribution of our climate system and our planet's massive water cycle, which delivers the freshwater we drink that sustains all life."

"With the successful launch of CloudSat and Calipso we take a giant step forward in our ability to study the global atmosphere," said Calipso Principal Investigator Dr. David Winker of NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. "In the years to come, we expect these missions to spark many new insights into the workings of Earth's climate and improve our abilities to forecast weather and predict climate change."

Each spacecraft will transmit pulses of energy and measure the portion of the pulses scattered back to the satellite. CloudSat's Cloud-Profiling Radar is more than 1,000 times more sensitive than typical weather radar. It can detect clouds and distinguish between cloud particles and precipitation. Calipso's polarization lidar can detect aerosol particles and distinguish between aerosol and cloud particles. Lidar, similar in principle to radar, uses reflected light to determine the characteristics of the target area.

Sixty-two minutes after liftoff, Calipso separated from the rocket's second stage. CloudSat followed 35 minutes later. Ground controllers successfully acquired signals from both spacecraft, and initial telemetry reports show both to be in excellent health. Over the next six weeks, system and instrument checks will be performed, and the satellites will be inserted into their final orbits.

The satellites will fly in formation as members of NASA's "A-Train" constellation, which also includes NASA's Aqua and Aura satellites and a French satellite known as Parasol, for Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar. The satellite data will be more useful when combined, providing insights into the global distribution and evolution of clouds to improve weather forecasting and climate prediction.

For more information about CloudSat and Calipso, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/cloudsat and http://www.nasa.gov/calipso .

CloudSat is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL also developed the radar instrument with hardware contributions from the Canadian Space Agency. Colorado State University provides scientific leadership and science data processing and distribution. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., designed and built the spacecraft. The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Department of Energy contributed resources. U.S. and international universities and research centers support the mission science team.

Calipso is a collaboration between NASA and France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Langley is leading the Calipso mission and providing overall project management, systems engineering, and payload mission operations. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., provides support for system engineering, project and program management. The French Space Agency is providing a Proteus spacecraft developed by Alcatel Space, a radiometer instrument, and spacecraft mission operations. Hampton University, Hampton, Va., is providing scientific contributions and managing the outreach program. Ball Aerospace developed the lidar and on-board visible camera.

NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., procured the mission's launch and provided the management for the mission's launch service.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulstion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulstion Laboratory. "NASA Launches Satellites For Weather, Climate, Air Quality Studies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060428094830.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulstion Laboratory. (2006, April 28). NASA Launches Satellites For Weather, Climate, Air Quality Studies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060428094830.htm
NASA/Jet Propulstion Laboratory. "NASA Launches Satellites For Weather, Climate, Air Quality Studies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060428094830.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins