CALIPSO is a joint NASA (USA) and CNES (France) environmental satellite, built in the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center, which was launched atop a Delta II rocket on April 28, 2006. Its name stands for Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations. CALIPSO Launched Alongside CloudSat.

CALIPSO spacecraft model.png
Mission typeEarth observation
OperatorNASA / CNES
COSPAR ID2006-016A
SATCAT no.29108
Mission durationElapsed: 16 years, 26 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass587 kilograms (1,294 lb)
Dimensions1.49 m × 1.84 m × 2.31 m (4.9 ft × 6.0 ft × 7.6 ft)
Power562 W
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 28, 2006, 10:02:16 (2006-04-28UTC10:02:16Z) UTC
RocketDelta 7420-10C D314
Launch siteVandenberg AFB SLC-2W
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Semi-major axis7,080.7 kilometres (4,399.7 mi)
Perigee altitude701 kilometers (436 mi)
Apogee altitude703 kilometers (437 mi)
Inclination98.2176 degrees
Period98.50 minutes
RAAN285.6451 degrees
Argument of perigee80.3481 degrees
Mean anomaly279.7840 degrees
Mean motion14.57093780
Revolution no.40530

Passive and active remote sensing Instruments on board the CALIPSO satellite monitor aerosols and clouds 24 hours a day. CALIPSO is part of the "A Train", flying in formation with several other satellites (Aqua, Aura and CloudSat).


Three instruments:

  • Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) - a lidar that provides high-resolution vertical profiles of aerosols and clouds.
  • Wide Field Camera (WFC) - a modified version of the commercial off-the-shelf Ball Aerospace CT-633 star tracker camera. It was selected to match band 1 of the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite.
  • Imaging Infrared Radiometer (IIR) - used to detect cirrus cloud emissivity and particle size. The CALIOP laser beam is aligned with the center of the IIR image to optimize joint CALIOP/IIR observations.

In February 2009, CALIPSO switched over to the redundant laser as scheduled. The primary laser achieved its mission goal of three years of successful operation, and the redundant laser has been performing beyond expectations.

The CALIPSO mission was granted extended mission status in June 2009.[1]

The Delta II rocket with CALIPSO and CloudSat on Launch Pad SLC-2W, VAFB.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CALIPSO - INSTRUMENT UPDATE". NASA LARC. Archived from the original on 2010-03-16.

External linksEdit

  • CALIPSO Outreach
  • CALIPSO and the A Train
  • The CALIPSO page at NASA
  • The CALIPSO page at French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES)
  • CALIPSO Mission Profile by NASA's Solar System Exploration
  • CALIPSO results in five to ten years
  • CALIPSO specs at NASA