Platform Description

Information about the platform from which the data were taken.

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NASA's commitment to studying the Earth as a global system continues with the Aqua spacecraft (originally called EOS PM-1). Aqua carries six state-of-the-art instruments to observe the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, land, ice and snow covers, and vegetation, providing high measurement accuracy, spatial detail, and temporal frequency. This comprehensive approach to data collection enables scientists to study the interactions among the four spheres of the Earth system--the oceans, land, atmosphere, and biosphere.

Aqua, Latin for "water," is named for the large amount of information that the Aqua spacecraft will collect about the Earth's water cycle. In particular, the Aqua data will include information on water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere, precipitation from the atmosphere, soil wetness on the land, glacial ice on the land, sea ice in the oceans, snow cover on both land and sea ice, and surface waters throughout the world's oceans, bays, and lakes. Such information will help scientists improve the quantification of the global water cycle and examine such issues as whether or not the cycling of water might be accelerating.

MODIS: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
AMSR-E: Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS
AMSU-A: Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A
CERES: Cloud's and the Earth's Radiant Energy System
AIRS: Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
HSB: Humidity Sounder for Brazil

Joint mission with Brazil and Japan
Type: Near polar, sun-synchronous
Altitude: 705 km
Equatorial Crossings: 1:30 p.m. (south to north) and 1:30 a.m. (northto south)
Inclination: 98.2°
Period: 98.8 minutes
Repeat Cycle: 16 days (233 revolutions)
Dimensions: 2.7 m x 2.5 m x 6.5 m stowed; 4.8 m x 16.7 m x 8.0 m deployed
Mass: 2,934 kg (1,750 kg spacecraft, 1,082 kg instruments, 102 kg propellants)
Power: 4,600 W silicon cell array and NiH2 battery
Design Life: 6 years
Average Data Rate: 89 Gbytes/day
Data Storage: 136-Gbit solid state recorder (SSR) for storage of up to two orbits of data
Data Relay Methods: Direct downlink from the SSR to polar ground stations; direct broadcast
Data Links: X-band
Telemetry: S-band
[Source: Earth Science Reference Handbook: A Guide to NASA’s Earth Science Program and Earth Observing Satellite Missions. Revised May 2006.]


This document should be cited as:
Ancillary Description Writer's Guide, 2015.
Global Change Master Directory.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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