From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
The TEMPEST-D in-space technology demonstration mission will reduce the risk, cost and development time of a future constellation of 6U-Class nanosatellites observing the temporal evolution of clouds to the onset of precipitation. TEMPEST-D provides passive millimeter-wave observations using a compact instrument that fits well within the 6U-Class nanosatellite architecture. TEMPEST millimeter-wave radiometers with five frequencies from 89 GHz to 182 GHz penetrate into the cloud to observe key changes as precipitation begins or as ice accumulates inside the storm. A full TEMPEST constellation mission would enable study of the conditions controlling the transition from non-precipitating to precipitating clouds using high-temporal resolution observations. Knowledge of cloud processes is essential to our understanding of climate change. Uncertainties in the representation of key processes that govern the formation and dissipation of clouds and, in turn, control the global water and energy budgets lead to substantially different predictions of future climate in current models. For the full TEMPEST constellation mission, five identical 6U-Class nanosatellites would be deployed in the same orbital plane with 5-minute spacing, initially at 450 km altitude and 51° inclination. A one-year mission would capture 3 million observations of precipitation, including at least 100,000 deep convective events. Passive drag-adjusting maneuvers would separate the five CubeSats in the same orbital plane, similar to those planned for NASA’s CYGNSS mission scheduled for launch in October 2016. TEMPEST-D was selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) in February 2015 and TEMPEST-D manifested for a March 2018 launch on Firefly Space Systems Alpha.
Steven C. Reising, Todd C. Gaier, Christian D. Kummerow, Sharmila Padmanabhan, Boon H. Lim, Cate Heneghan, Chandrasekar V. Chandra, Shannon T. Brown, Jon Olson, and Wesley K. Berg, "Temporal experiment for storms and tropical systems - technology demonstration (TEMPEST-D) mission to enable future 6U-class nanosatellite constellation missions
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9978, CubeSats and NanoSats for Remote Sensing, 997808 (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 31, 2016; Published: 7 December 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2239204.5178875883001.
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