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Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO)

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Status: Completed
Mission Category: Earth System Science Pathfinder Program, A-Train
Launch Date: April 28, 2006
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA

The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) spacecraft is a joint U.S. (NASA) / French(Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales/CNES) mission. Observations from spaceborne lidar, combined with passive imagery, led to an improved understanding of the role aerosols and clouds play in regulating the Earth's climate, in particular, how aerosols and clouds interact with one another.

NASA and CNES agreed to end the CALIPSO science mission on August 1, 2023. This mission has been highly successful: designed for a lifetime of 3 years, CALIPSO delivered unprecedented measurements of the vertical structure of the Earth’s atmosphere for 17 years.

Key Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 705km
Inclination: 98.2°
Local Node:Approximate time, at the equator when vehicle is directly overhead. 1:30 p.m.
Instruments: CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization)
IIR (Imaging Infrared Imager)
WFC (Wide-Field Camera)
Project Scientist(s): Chip Trepte
Principal Investigator(s): Dave Winker
Jacques Pelon

Related Publications:

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Atmospheric Composition
  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Water and Energy Cycles
  • Weather

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?
  • How is the global Earth system changing?
  • How will the Earth system change in the future?

Related Applications:

  • Air Quality
  • Aviation
  • Homeland Security
  • Public Health