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22 August 2005 The ESA Earth Explorer EarthCARE mission
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Abstract
The EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer) mission has been recently selected as the 6th ESA's Earth Explorer Mission. The mission objective is to determine, in a radiatively consistent manner, the global distribution of vertical profiles of cloud and aerosol field characteristics. A major innovation of the EarthCARE mission is to include both active and passive instruments on a single platform, which allows for a complete 3-D spatial and temporal picture of the radiative flux field at the top of the atmosphere and the Earth's surface to be developed. While the active instruments provide vertical cloud profiles, the passive instruments (mainly the multi-spectral imager) provide supplementary horizontal data to allow for the extrapolation of the 3-D cloud and aerosol characteristics. The EarthCARE payload is composed of four instruments: an Atmospheric backscatter Lidar, a Cloud Profiling Radar, a Multi-Spectral Imager and a Broad Band Radiometer. The mission baseline is a sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude around 450 km. The EarthCARE mission is a cooperative mission with Japan (JAXA and NiCT), which will provide the Cloud Profiling Radar. ESA will provide the ground segment and the rest of the space segment including the lidar, the imager and the broadband radiometer. The launch is planned for 2012.
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Jean-Loup Bezy, Wolfgang Leibrandt, Arnaud Heliere, Pierluigi Silvestrin, Chun-Chi Lin, Paul Ingmann, Toshiyoshi Kimura, and Hiroshi Kumagai "The ESA Earth Explorer EarthCARE mission", Proc. SPIE 5882, Earth Observing Systems X, 58820F (22 August 2005); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.619438
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