PARASOL: 4 years in orbit

In March 2009, ICARE celebrates the 4th anniversary of PARASOL successful operations. PARASOL is a microsatellite launched by CNES on December 18, 2004. It carries a wide-field imaging radiometer/polarimeter called POLDER (Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances). PARASOL is part of the A-Train constellation, and contributes to an overall strategy to observe clouds and aerosols from multiple sensors on the same orbit. Originally scheduled to last 2 years, the mission was reconducted indefinitely, in consideration of the instrument good performance and scientific value. The ICARE Data and Services Center generates derived cloud and aerosol science products routinely, usually within 24-48 hours of data acquisition. Science products have been operationally produced and distributed since March 2005, at the end of the satellite commissioning phase. Other than a few scattered incidents, PARASOL did not experience any major problem, and only very few downtimes occurred. Over 4 years’s worth of PARASOL data are now available in the ICARE archive.
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