Space Missions

aqua
Launch

Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice.

aura

Aura (Latin for breeze) was launched July 15, 2004. Aura is part of the Earth Science Projects Division, a program dedicated to monitoring the complex interactions that affect the globe using NASA satellites and data systems. Aura's four instruments study the atmosphere's chemistry and dynamics. The satellite's measurements will enable scientists to investigate questions about ozone trends, air quality changes, and their linkage to climate change.

calipso

Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation studies the role that clouds and aerosols play in regulating Earth's weather, climate and air quality.

ccvex

The CALIPSO-CloudSat Validation Experiment's two overarching goals: 1. Establish sensitivity and calibration for CloudSat and Calipso - orbital coordination. 2. Initial microphysical validation - A-Train simulation.

CloudSat

Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) is a 94-GHz nadir-looking radar which measures the power backscattered by clouds as a function of distance from the radar.

cr-ave

The Costa Rica Aura Validation Experiment (CR-AVE) is a mission designed to explore the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) and to provide information for comparison to satellite observations.

dscovr
Launch

DSCOVR, formerly called Triana, is the first Earth-observing satellite in an Lagrange-1 or L1 orbit.  It supports a number of scientific instruments, including EPIC and NISTAR.  EPIC (Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera) is a 10-channel sepctroradiometer that provides daily 13 (in winter) or 22 (in summer) 10 narrow band spectral images of the entire sunlit face of Earth.

glas

GLAS (the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System) is the first laser-ranging (lidar) instrument for continuous global observations of Earth. From aboard the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite (ICESat) spacecraft, it will make unique atmospheric observations, including measuring ice-sheet topography, cloud and atmospheric properties, and the height and thickness of radiatively important cloud layers needed for accurate short term climate and weather prediction.

goes

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) – R Series is the nation’s most advanced fleet of geostationary weather satellites. The GOES-R Series significantly improves the detection and observation of environmental phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property and our nation’s economic health and prosperity.

grip

The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment is a NASA Earth science field experiment in 2010 that will be conducted to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes.

icecube

Clouds play an important role in Earth’s climate system through interactions with atmospheric radiation, dynamics, and precipitation processes. Global cloud ice and properties are critical for quantifying cloud’s roles, but it is challenging to measure these variables accurately.

icesat2
Launch

The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission is the second generation laser altimeter designed for cryospheric science measurements. Unlike its single-beam predecessor, ICESat-2 will split a single laser beam into six beams to enable measurement of elevation as well as surface slope, and uses a high-repetition rate laser to collect data every 70cm along the flight path.

ldcm
Launch

Launched on February 11, 2013, Landsat 8 (formerly the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, LDCM) is the most recently launched Landsat satellite. It is collecting valuable data and imagery used in agriculture, education, business, science, and government.

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.

pace

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission is a recent addition to the NASA flight program manifest as recommended in the report, “Responding to the Challenge of Climate and Environmental Change:  NASA’s plan for a Climate-Centric Architecture for Earth Observations and Applications from Space”, published in June 2010.   As described in the report, the primary objective is to “make essential global ocean color measurements, essential for understanding the carbon cycle and how it both affects and is affected by climate change…”. 

sorce

The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment mission is providing state-of-the-art measurements of incoming x-ray, ultraviolet, visible, near-infrared, and total solar radiation.

suomi

The National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) is a joint mission to extend key measurements in support of long-term monitoring of climate trends and of global biological productivity.

terra

Terra is a multi-national, multi-disciplinary mission involving partnerships with the aerospace agencies of Canada and Japan.

trmm

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, was launched in 1997 to study rainfall for weather and climate research.