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Artist's Concept of CloudSat
Mission type Atmospheric research
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2006-016B
SATCAT № 29107
Website CloudSat home page
Mission duration 22 months
Spacecraft properties
Bus BCP-2000
Manufacturer Ball Aerospace
Launch mass 700.0 kilograms (1,543.2 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date April 28, 2006, 10:02:16 (2006-04-28T10:02:16Z) UTC
Rocket Delta II 7420-10C
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime LEO
Semi-major axis 7,080.59 kilometres (4,399.67 mi)[1]
Eccentricity 8.24E-05[1]
Perigee 709 kilometres (441 mi)[1]
Apogee 710 kilometres (440 mi)[1]
Inclination 98.23 degrees[1]
Period 98.83 minutes[1]
RAAN 330.82 degrees[1]
Argument of perigee 91.62 degrees[1]
Mean anomaly 14.57 degrees[1]
Mean motion 14.57[1]
Epoch 25 January 2015, 03:10:38 UTC[1]
Revolution number 46,515[1]

CloudSat is a NASA Earth observation satellite, which was launched on a Delta II rocket on April 28, 2006. It uses radar to measure the altitude and properties of clouds, adding to information on the relationship between clouds and climate in order to help resolve questions about global warming.

CloudSat flies in formation in the "A Train", with several other satellites: Aqua, Aura, CALIPSO and the French PARASOL.

The mission was selected under NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program in 1999. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado, designed and built the spacecraft.

CloudSat's primary mission was scheduled to continue for 22 months in order to allow more than one seasonal cycle to be observed.


  • Instrument 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The Delta II rocket with CloudSat and CALIPSO on Launch Pad SLC-2W, VAFB.

The main instrument on CloudSat is the Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), a 94-GHz nadir-looking radar that measures the power backscattered by clouds as a function of distance from the radar. The radar instrument was developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, with hardware contributions from the Canadian Space Agency. The overall design of the CPR is simple, well understood, and has a strong heritage from the many cloud radars already in operation in ground-based and airborne applications. Most of the design parameters and subsystem configurations are nearly identical to those for the Airborne Cloud Radar, which has been flying on the NASA DC-8 aircraft since 1998.

The CPR capitalizes on existing radar expertise and experience at JPL. Other radars already flown successfully or being developed by JPL include the Seasat SAR, the Shuttle Imaging Radars (SIR-A, SIR-B, SIR-C), the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), Magellan Venus Radar Mapper, Cassini Radar (mapping Saturn's moon Titan), NSCAT, QuickScat, and SeaWinds.

Based on radar lifetime data, NASA expects the radar to operate for three years with a 99% probability.

CloudSat is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Colorado State University provides scientific leadership and science data processing and distribution. The cost of this project is approximately 200 million dollars.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "CLOUDSAT Satellite details 2006-016A NORAD 29107". N2YO. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "CloudSat Press Kit" (PDF). NASA/JPL. 

External links

  • Cloudsat home
  • Cloudsat data center
  • CloudSat and the A Train
  • CloudSat Mission Profile by NASA's Solar System Exploration
  • Spacecraft seek climate clarity
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