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CALIPSO spacecraft model.png
Mission type Earth observation
Operator NASA / CNES
COSPAR ID 2006-016A
SATCAT no. 29108
Mission duration Elapsed: 13 years, 5 months, 17 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass 587 kilograms (1,294 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date April 28, 2006, 10:02:16 (2006-04-28UTC10:02:16Z) UTC
Rocket Delta 7420-10C D314
Launch site Vandenberg AFB SLC-2W
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Semi-major axis 7,080.7 kilometres (4,399.7 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0001111
Perigee altitude 701 kilometers (436 mi)
Apogee altitude 703 kilometers (437 mi)
Inclination 98.2176 degrees
Period 98.50 minutes
RAAN 285.6451 degrees
Argument of perigee 80.3481 degrees
Mean anomaly 279.7840 degrees
Mean motion 14.57093780
Revolution no. 40530

CALIPSO is a joint NASA (USA) and CNES (France) environmental satellite, built in the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center, which was launched atop a Delta II rocket on April 28, 2006. Its name stands for Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations.

Passive and active remote sensing Instruments on board the CALIPSO satellite monitor aerosols and clouds 24 hours a day. CALIPSO is part of the "A Train", flying in formation with several other satellites (Aqua, Aura and CloudSat).


Three instruments:

  • Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) - a lidar that provides high-resolution vertical profiles of aerosols and clouds.
  • Wide Field Camera (WFC) - a modified version of the commercial off-the-shelf Ball Aerospace CT-633 star tracker camera. It was selected to match band 1 of the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite.
  • Imaging Infrared Radiometer (IIR) - used to detect cirrus cloud emissivity and particle size. The CALIOP laser beam is aligned with the center of the IIR image to optimize joint CALIOP/IIR observations.

In February 2009, CALIPSO switched over to the redundant laser as scheduled. The primary laser achieved its mission goal of three years of successful operation, and the redundant laser has been performing beyond expectations.

The CALIPSO mission was granted extended mission status in June 2009.[1]

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

See also


  1. ^ "CALIPSO - INSTRUMENT UPDATE". NASA LARC. Archived from the original on 2010-03-16.

External links

  • CALIPSO Outreach
  • CALIPSO and the A Train
  • The CALIPSO page at NASA
  • The CALIPSO page at French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES)
  • CALIPSO Mission Profile by NASA's Solar System Exploration
  • CALIPSO results in five to ten years
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