Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PARASOL Satellite moving off the A-Train's track

Date:
January 4, 2010
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
After nearly 5 years of concurrent operations with the Afternoon Constellation, known as the "A-Train," the PARASOL satellite is going on another orbit "track." The A-Train includes a number of NASA satellites that orbit the Earth one behind the other on the same track and until this month, PARASOL has been part of that train.

This graphic (not to scale) depicts the satellites that make up the Afternoon Constellation -- the "A-Train." Note also that CALIPSO trails CloudSat by only 17.5 seconds to allow for synergy between Aqua, CloudSat and CALIPSO. Aura, originally positioned 15 minutes behind Aqua, was relocated in May 2008 to enable better coincidence between its Microwave Limb Sounder instrument and CloudSat's radar instrument. The drawing also depicts the two newest members to be added to the A-Train: Glory, a NASA Goddard mission scheduled for launch next year, and GCOM-W1, a JAXA mission scheduled for launch in 2011.
Credit: Ed Hanka

After nearly 5 years of concurrent operations with the Afternoon Constellation, known as the "A-Train," the PARASOL satellite is going on another orbit "track." The A-Train includes a number of NASA satellites that orbit the Earth one behind the other on the same track and until this month, PARASOL has been part of that train.

Related Articles


PARASOL is an Earth observation mission, managed by the French Space Agency (CNES). PARASOL stands for "Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar." According to CNES, it was maneuvered to leave its position inside the A-Train at 12:48 UTC, December 2, 2009.

The A-Train satellite formation currently consists of five satellites flying in close proximity: Aqua, CloudSat, CALIPSO, PARASOL and Aura. Each of these satellites cross the equator within a few minutes of each another at around 1:30 p.m. local time. By combining the different sets of nearly simultaneous observations, scientists are able to gain a better understanding its main mission, studying the important parameters related to climate change. As an additional benefit, the A-Train satellites provide unique information about tropical cyclones, the collective term for tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons.

The PARASOL satellite has now reached an orbit of 3.9 kilometers (2.4 miles) under the A-train, which will enable it to keep on sharing data periodically with the A-train members, while gradually leaving the A-Train neighborhood. Based on a typical decay of its orbit, it is expected to be completely out of the A-train neighborhood at the end of 2012. The CNES team will continue to coordinate operations with the A-Train Mission Operations Working Group to ensure safety.

PARASOL's measurement of aerosols is based on polarization, so is unique within the existing A-Train. Its departure leaves a data gap that will be filled when Glory (also a polarization spectrometer) launches in 2010. Cross-calibration between Glory and PARASOL, to merge the 2 datasets into a single long-term trending dataset, will take longer with PARASOL in a different orbit.

Steven Platnick, Acting Earth Observing System Project Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. said, "With its novel combination of polarimetry and multiangle capabilities, PARASOL continues to provide a unique and important perspective on cloud and aerosol properties. More important, as a strong complement to other A-Train instruments, POLDER has contributed to an unprecedented data set that will be studied for years to come."

CNES launched PARASOL into the A-Train orbit in December 2004. For the past five years, PARASOL, originally designed to be a 2-year mission, flew within ~30 seconds of the CALIPSO and CloudSat satellites.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "PARASOL Satellite moving off the A-Train's track." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100104181529.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2010, January 4). PARASOL Satellite moving off the A-Train's track. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100104181529.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "PARASOL Satellite moving off the A-Train's track." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100104181529.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) 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


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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