MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Diane Ainsworth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 1999
CLOUDSAT TO REVOLUTIONIZE STUDY OF CLOUDS AND CLIMATE
NASA will take a revolutionary, global look at clouds with a
new spaceborne radar capable of peering deep into their interior
to study their structure, composition and effects on climate.
CloudSat, which will fly in 2003, will use an advanced radar
to "slice" through clouds to see their vertical structure,
providing a completely new observational capability from space --
current weather satellites can only image the uppermost layers of
clouds. CloudSat will be the first satellite to study clouds on a
"A trio of satellites will provide unprecedented information
on how clouds help transfer solar energy to and from our planet's
atmosphere," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, associate administrator for
Earth Sciences, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "The data
from CloudSat will help us understand changes in the Earth's
climate on global, regional and local scales. An important
contribution of CloudSat is the way it will fly in formation with the Earth Observing System-PM platform and the PICASSO-CENA
PICASSO-CENA, a cooperative mission between NASA and France,
will study the role of transparent, thin clouds and aerosols,
small atmospheric particles, and their effect on solar-energy
CloudSat's cloud-profiling radar capability will allow
scientists to study the three-dimensional structure of most
clouds important to weather and climate. This capability
complements an instrument aboard PICASSO-CENA, which will observe
the vertical structure of thin clouds and aerosols. These two
missions will provide critically needed satellite measurements
that will help researchers understand how the Earth's solar
energy and climate interact on a global scale.
CloudSat data also will complement the Earth Observing
System-PM satellite, which will collect data on the dynamics of
Earth's atmosphere, and the Triana mission, both to be launched
Dr. Graeme Stephens of Colorado State University, Ft.
Collins, CO, will be principal investigator of the CloudSat
mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, will
manage the international mission, which will include
participation from the United States, Canada, Germany and Japan.
The estimated cost of the CloudSat mission is $135 million.
NASA's contribution will be approximately $111 million, with
additional funding provided by the Canadian Space Agency, the
U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Air Force. The Canadian
Space Agency also is developing key radar components and
contributing scientific expertise. Ball Aerospace & Technologies
Corp., Boulder, CO, will build the CloudSat spacecraft.
The CloudSat mission continues the strong commitment to
Earth Systems Science undertaken by NASA's Office of Earth
Science, which oversees a long-term, coordinated research
enterprise designed to study the Earth as a global environmental
system. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a division of the
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.