Ball Celebrates Eight Years for CALIPSO and CloudSat

CALIPSO

Rendering of the CALIPSO Earth environmental instrument. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

[Via Satellite 04-30-2014] Ball Aerospace celebrated the eighth anniversary of its on-orbit operations for the CloudSat spacecraft and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) Earth science satellite. Ball designed and manufactured the CloudSat bus and the CALIPSO instrument, which launched in late April of 2006 to join the “A-Train” constellation.

Ball was under contract by NASA Langley Research Center, and the company was responsible for the two scientific instruments, the communications suite and integration of the payload for CALIPSO. Ball’s Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) instrument provides high-resolution profiles of clouds and aerosols. The Wide Field camera provides a larger scale view of the atmosphere.

Together with an instrument provided by the French Centre National D’Etude Spatiales (CNES), these three instruments help to better predict climate change, the formation of 3-D aerosol structures and measure air quality. The CloudSat mission has surpassed its design life of three years. Although the batteries on the spacecraft started to lose power, Ball integrated a solution that allows CloudSat to continue operating through collecting data when in daylight-only mode, which won the team at Ball a NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Award.

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