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Space Missions


SMAP uses a 1.4 GHz microwave radiometer, a high-resolution 1.2 GHz radar, and a combination of the two instruments to measure surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state, providing new opportunities for scientific advances and societal benefits. 

Interactions between aerosols, cloud particles, precipitation, and radiation are central to understanding and predicting weather and severe storm development, air quality, and climate change. Key to ACCP science is that virtually every cloud particle, raindrop and snowflake is born from an aerosol particle, which intimately links aerosol and cloud/precipitation processes.

The Atmosphere Observing System (AOS) mission goal is to optimize how we examine links among tiny particles known as "aerosols," clouds, atmospheric convection, and precipitation. AOS will deliver key data for improved forecasts of weather, air quality and climate. How? By providing unmatched insight into the vertical structure of our atmosphere with observations from space, our skies, and on the ground.


The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international network of satellites that provide the next-generation global observations of rain and snow.

The Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, will measure the height of a changing Earth – one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses a second. Launched in 2018, ICESat-2 will carry a laser altimeter that detects individual photons, allowing scientists to measure the elevation of ice sheets, sea ice, forests and more in unprecedented detail.


The restructured Joint Polar Satellite System (formerly -- National Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS)), will address NOAA’s requirements to provide global environmental data necessary for NOAA’s missions to monitor the earth, manage resources, support the Nation’s economy, and protect lives and property. source: NOAA

Using advanced radar imaging that will provide an unprecedented, detailed view of Earth, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, or NISAR, satellite is designed to observe and take measurements of some of the planet's most complex processes, including ecosystem disturbances, ice-sheet collapse, and natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.


The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment produces a new, highly accurate map of the Earth's gravity field each month, based on precise measurements of the locations of and distance between two identical satellites orbiting in tandem. 

The Surface Water Ocean Topography mission brings together two communities focused on a better understanding of the world's oceans and its terrestrial surface waters. The SWOT Satellite Mission and its wide-swath altimetry technology is a means of completely covering the world's oceans and freshwater bodies with repeated elevation measurements.