Due for launch in 2013, EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer) has been selected as ESA's sixth
Earth Explorer Missions within its Living Planet Programme. Its payload aims at providing measurements, in a
radiatively consistent manner, of the global distribution of vertical profiles of clouds and aerosol field 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 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. ESA and JAXA have initiated predevelopment
activities to reduce technical and programmatic risks for the critical elements of the mission.
Following a mission overview, this paper presents results of these pre-development activities mainly related to the
ATLID instrument. The activities consist of designing, manufacturing and testing a functional representative model of
the ATLID receiver critical units and laser source, of developing and assessing high-power pump laser diodes with
extended lifetime and improved efficiency, and of demonstrating the performance of candidate detectors.