February 14, 2006

Calipso launch preparations

The launch of the Nasa/CNES Calipso satellite, postponed last autumn due to strike action at Boeing, is finally set to take place this week from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. We take a look at how Calipso has been preparing for the big day.
27 April 2006

Previous launch attempts late last week had to be scrubbed, the 1st due to a communications hitch and then because the refuelling plane for a radar tracking aircraft was unavailable.

The Calipso satellite should soon be able to accomplish its mission to measure the impact of clouds and aerosols on Earth’s climate.

As the pictures here show, preparations to launch the satellite resumed on 15 March at VAFB. These were followed by a qualification readiness review and functional tests, which were successfully completed on 21 and 25 March.

Calipso will give new insights into the mechanisms driving climate change and seasonal variations.
Its mission will include:
  • providing global vertical atmospheric profiles at a resolution of 30 m
  • improving our understanding of the role of clouds and aerosols in climate

Calipso will join the A-Train, the 1st French-U.S. orbital observatory consisting of 6 satellites flying in formation, including the Parasol microsatellite.

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