September 20, 2005

Calipso to launch end October

The Calipso satellite dedicated to studying the atmosphere will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at the end of October.
26 September 2005
Calipso is a joint CNES/Nasa mission to measure the radiative impacts of clouds and aerosols on Earth’s climate. Once in orbit, the satellite will take up its place in a unique constellation of 6 spacecraft called the A-Train.

Calipso and the A-Train: an atmosphere observatory

The French-U.S. Calipso1 satellite is set to embark on its mission to locate clouds and aerosols, determine their altitude and optical properties, and measure their radiative impacts on Earth’s climate.
Stationed in near-Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 705 km, Calipso will establish vertical profiles of the atmosphere to study the role of clouds and aerosols in the climate system.

To be launched with the U.S. CloudSat cloud-observing and climate monitoring satellite, it is set to join the A-Train space observatory, a unique constellation that will ultimately have 6 satellites designed for atmospheric research.
The A-Train currently comprises 3 satellites in orbit, including CNES’s Parasol microsatellite.
With Calipso and CloudSat added to the constellation, 5 satellites will be acquiring measurements using different remote-sensing techniques, only minutes apart.
The A-Train thus constitutes a true space observatory that will yield significant data synergies.

Calipso to depart end October

Initially set for 28 September, the launch of Calipso and CloudSat has now been rescheduled for the end of October due to a build-up of other U.S. satellite launches around the original launch date.

After arriving at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, late May, the satellite has completed launch preparations and checks.

It will be orbited with CloudSat by a U.S. Delta II launcher.

Calipso—part of Nasa/Goddard Space Flight Center’s Earth System Science Pathfinder programme (ESSP)—is a priority mission for CNES.

It marks a new step forward in French-U.S. cooperation in Earth observation and sustainable development—a focus of major efforts in France and the United States.

1 Calipso : Cloud Aerosol Lidar Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation

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