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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Take the (NASA) A-Train
The "A-Train" satellite formation consists of six satellites flying in close proximity in a near future. The first one, Aqua, was launched in 2002. The second one, Aura, will be launched in June 2004, while CloudSAT, CALIPSO and PARABOL will start their missions in October 2004. The last one, OCO, will join them in 2006. The individual missions and the A-Train formation are described in this paper, "Formation Flying: The Afternoon 'A-Train' Satellite Constellation" (PDF format, 6 pages, 263 KB).

The satellites will cross the equator within a few minutes of one another at around 1:30 p.m. local time. By combining the different sets of observations, scientists will be able to gain a better understanding of important parameters related to climate change.

A pretty interesting image of the A-Train formation in the sky is featured in this long overview, which also contains descriptions, images and links to the different satellites, and what they are supposed to tell us -- if they can successfully fly harmoniously in a coordinated formation.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 12:25 PM Comments (0)
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