12th Conference on Middle Atmosphere

Tuesday, 5 November 2002: 10:50 AM
The Aura Mission and the “A-Train”
Mark Schoeberl, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and A. Douglass and E. Hilsenrath
By the end of 2004 the “A-Train” will have been assembled in orbit. The “A-Train” consists of five low earth orbit satellites flying within 15 minutes of each other. The first in the train is Aqua, launched early this year, in an ascending node orbit with 1:30 PM crossing time. In January 2004, Aura will be launched, following 15 minutes behind Aqua. Aura’s focus is atmospheric chemistry, with both forward looking, and backward looking instruments along with nadir sounders. Aura’s limb microwave instrument will also be able to make temperature and humidity measurements into the troposphere. By mid-2004, CALIPSO, a cloud lidar mission and CloudSat, a cloud radar mission will be co-manifested. These two spacecraft will follow, and maneuver about 1 minute behind Aqua. The lidar on CALIPSO will provide aerosol and cloud height information which can enhance the aerosol information from Aqua’s MODIS instrument. CloudSat’s radar will enhance the information from AMSR-E, AIRS and HSB on Aqua. The fifth satellite to be launched in 2004 is PARASOL which will use the POLDER instrument to provide polarization information which can be used to determine aerosol composition and size distribution.

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