Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations

Project Description
CALIPSO was selected as an Earth System Science Pathfinder satellite
mission in December 1998 to address the role of clouds and aerosols in
the Earth's radiation budget. NASA Langley Research Center is leading
the mission and is providing overall project management, systems
engineering, payload mission operations, data validation, processing
and archival. CNES is providing a PROTEUS spacecraft, the imaging
infrared radiometer (IIR), payload-to-spacecraft integration, and
spacecraft mission operations. CALIPSO is being developed through
collaboration between NASA and the French space agency, Centre
National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

CALIPSO will fly a three-channel lidar and passive instruments to
provide key measurements of aerosol and cloud properties needed to
improve climate predictions. CALIPSO is co-manifested with the
CloudSat satellite for a October 2004 launch on a Delta II launch
vehicle. They both will operate as part of a constellation of
satellites including EOS Aqua, EOS Aura, and PARASOL (Polarization and
Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Science coupled with
Observations from a Lidar), which is being developed by CNES. The
satellites of the constellation will fly in a 705-km circular
sun-synchronous polar orbit with a nominal ascending node equatorial
crossing time of 13:30 local time. This constellation will provide
nearly simultaneous and co-located observations that will allow
numerous synergies to be realized by combining CALIPSO observations
with complementary observations from other platforms. This unique data
set of aerosol and cloud optical and physical properties and
aerosol-cloud interactions will substantially increase our
understanding of the climate system and the potential for climate

For more information on the CALIPSO project, see:

For more information on NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP)
Program, see:

For more information on Earth Science Enterprise (ESE):