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.

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 August 1, 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 August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) 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:
from the past week

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