Airbus-built ESA-JAXA climate satellite successfully launched

Friedrichshafen, 29 May 2024 – The Airbus-built EarthCARE climate monitoring satellite has been successfully launched from Vandenberg military base, California. EarthCARE (Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) is a joint undertaking between the European and Japanese Space Agencies (ESA and JAXA). The satellite will examine the role clouds and aerosols (tiny atmospheric particles) play in reflecting solar radiation back into space (i.e. cooling down the atmosphere) as well as in trapping infrared radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface (i.e. heating up the atmosphere).

“EarthCARE is ESA’s largest and most complex Earth Explorer spacecraft – a flagship mission whose data will help improve the accuracy and reliability of climate and numerical weather prediction models,” said Alain Fauré, Head of Space Systems at Airbus. “International cooperation was key with more than 200 research institutes and 45 companies across Europe working hand in hand to deliver this spacecraft.”

EarthCARE will draw up vertical profiles of natural and human-made aerosols, register the distribution of water droplets and ice crystals and how they are transported in clouds, and provide essential input to improve the modelling of the warming climate and weather forecasting. Aerosols influence the life cycle of clouds, and so contribute indirectly to how they give off radiation – measuring them will give a better understanding of Earth’s energy budget.

Instrumental cooperation: one mission, two agencies, four instruments

The spacecraft was developed, built and tested with the involvement of experts from 15 European countries as well as Japan and Canada, under the leadership of Airbus, in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

This unique combination of instruments will allow scientists for the first time to directly assess the role of clouds and aerosols on Earth’s radiation budget with one integrated satellite system thereby reducing current uncertainties.

EarthCARE will circle Earth in a Sun-synchronous 400 km polar orbit crossing the equator in the early afternoon to optimise daylight conditions. Weighing 2.3 tonnes, and measuring 18 metres long, once its solar panel and CPR instrument are deployed EarthCARE will be on duty for at least 3 years.

Release and image Airbus

Bir yanıt yazın

E-posta adresiniz yayınlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir