J11.4 Enabling Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation Processes using 6U-Class Small Satellite Constellations: Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems Technology Demonstration (TEMPEST-D)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 9:15 AM
3AB (Washington State Convention Center )
Steven C. Reising, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and T. C. Gaier, C. D. Kummerow, V. Chandrasekar, S. Padmanabhan, B. H. Lim, C. Heneghan, W. Berg, J. P. Olson, S. T. Brown, J. Carvo, and M. Pallas

The Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems (TEMPEST) mission concept consists of a constellation of 5 identical 6U-Class small satellites measuring at 5 millimeter-wave frequencies with 5-minute temporal sampling to observe the temporal development of clouds and their transition to precipitation.  The TEMPEST concept is designed to improve the understanding of cloud processes by providing critical, temporally resolved information on the evolution of cloud and precipitation microphysics and by helping to constrain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate models.  The TEMPEST constellation of millimeter-wave radiometers is capable of time-resolved observations within clouds to observe changes as precipitation begins or ice accumulates inside storms.  Such a constellation deployed at approximately 400 km altitude and 50°-65° inclination is expected to capture more than 3 million observations of precipitation during a one-year mission, including over 100,000 deep convective events.

The TEMPEST Technology Demonstration (TEMPEST-D) mission will be deployed to raise the TRL of the instrument and key satellite systems as well as to demonstrate measurement capabilities required for a constellation of 6U-Class small satellites to directly observe the temporal development of clouds and study the conditions that control their transition to precipitation.  A partnership among Colorado State University (Lead Institution), NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Blue Canyon Technologies, TEMPEST-D will provide observations at five millimeter-wave frequencies from 89 to 182 GHz using a single compact, self-calibrating instrument that is well suited for 6U-Class small satellites with ample resource margins.  The top-level requirements for the 90-day TEMPEST-D mission are to: (1) demonstrate precision inter-satellite calibration between TEMPEST-D and one other orbiting radiometer (e.g., GPM or MHS) measuring at similar frequencies and (2) demonstrate orbital drag maneuvers to control altitude, as verified by GPS, sufficient to achieve relative positioning in a constellation of 6U-Class small satellites.  The TEMPEST-D satellite is planned to be delivered in July 2017 for launch through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative in December 2017.

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