Aqua (satellite)

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Aqua spacecraft model.png
Aqua (EOS PM-1)
Mission type Earth observation
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2002-022A
SATCAT no. 27424
Mission duration 6 years (planned)
Elapsed: 15 years, 5 months, 18 days
Spacecraft properties
Bus T330 (AB-1200)
Manufacturer TRW
Launch mass 3,117 kilograms (6,872 lb)
Dimensions 4.81 m x 16.7 m x 8.04 m
Power 4.444 kilowatts
Start of mission
Launch date May 4, 2002, 09:54:58 (2002-05-04UTC09:54:58Z) UTC
Rocket Delta II 7920-10L
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W
Contractor Boeing
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime LEO
Semi-major axis 7,080.6 kilometers (4,399.7 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0000979
Perigee 702 kilometers (436 mi)
Apogee 703 kilometers (437 mi)
Inclination 98.1987°
Period 99 minutes
RAAN 95.2063°
Argument of perigee 120.4799°
Mean anomaly 351.4268°
Mean motion 14.57116559
Epoch 02 June 2016, 10:25:37 UTC
Aqua logo 72dpi.jpg
Logotype of the mission.

Aqua (EOS PM-1) is a multi-national NASA scientific research satellite in orbit around the Earth, studying the precipitation, evaporation, and cycling of water. It is the second major component of the Earth Observing System (EOS) preceded by Terra (launched 1999) and followed by Aura (launched 2004).

The name "Aqua" comes from the Latin word for water. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 4, 2002, aboard a Delta II rocket. Aqua is on a Sun-synchronous orbit. It flies as the third in the satellite formation called the "A Train" with several other satellites (OCO-2, the Japanese GCOM W1, CALIPSO, CloudSat, and Aura).


Aqua carries six instruments for studies of water on the Earth's surface and in the atmosphere, of which four are still operating:

  • AMSR-E — Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS — measures cloud properties, sea surface temperature, near-surface wind speed, radiative energy flux, surface water, ice and snow. Furnished by the National Space Development Agency of Japan. The AMSR-E instrument had over 480 pounds of spinning mass, and the lubricant in the bearing assembly gradually deteriorated over the course of the mission. By 2007, there was a noticeable increase in motor current. This led to the development of new contingency procedures in case of high current or torque which were put in place in 2011. In October of 2011, the instrument began to cause yaw vibrations in the spacecraft that exceeded torque limits and on October 4, 2011 was automatically spun down to 4 rpm from the normal 40 rpm and then, because it could not maintain 4 RPM, was spun-down to 0 RPM..[1] A recovery procedure was developed and tested through 2012, culminating with a December 4, 2012 successful spin-up to 2.0767 rpm to allow for cross-calibration with the AMSR-2 instrument launched in 2012 aboard the GCOM-W1 satellite.[2] On December 4, 2015 AMSR-E was spun down to 0 rpm and then on March 3, 2016 it was turned off.[3]
  • MODIS — Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, also measures cloud properties and radiative energy flux, also aerosol properties; land cover and land use change, fires and volcanoes. This instrument is also aboard Terra.
  • AMSU-A — Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit — measures atmospheric temperature and humidity. Since launch, AMSU has lost 3 of 15 channels.[4]
  • AIRS — Atmospheric Infrared Sounder — measures atmospheric temperature and humidity, land and sea surface temperatures. Cooler A telemetry became frozen on March 24, 2014, but this had no impact on science gathering.[5]
  • HSB — Humidity Sounder for BrazilVHF band equipment measuring atmospheric humidity. Furnished by Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais of Brazil. The HSB instrument has been in survival mode, and thus non-operational, since February 5, 2003.[5]
  • CERES — Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System, Flying Models 3 and 4, measure broadband radiative energy flux. Ceres shortwave channel failed on March 30, 2005, but its two other channels remain operational.[5]

The Aqua spacecraft has a mass of about 2,850 kilograms (6,280 lb), plus propellant of about 230 kilograms (510 lb) (at launch). Stowed, the satellite is 2.68 m x 2.49 m x 6.49 m. Deployed, Aqua is 4.81 m x 16.70 m x 8.04 m.

See also

External links

  • NASA Aqua site
  • Aqua Mission Profile by NASA's Solar System Exploration
  • Mission Control Tunes Up Aqua's Orbit, August 20, 2009
  1. ^ Spencer, Roy W. "AMSR-E Ends 9+ Years of Global Observations". Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Guit, Bill. "AMSR-E Recovery" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  3. ^ MIURA, Satoko Horiyama. "AMSR-E Spun Down on Dec. 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  4. ^ Liu, Guosheng (22 June 2015). "NASA Earth Science Senior Review 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Parkinson, Claire. "2015 Aqua Update" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
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