Paris, 28 April 2005
CALIPSO AND CLOUDSAT LAUNCH A SUCCESS
On 28 April 2006 an American Delta 2 launcher successfully accomplished its mission to place
the CALIPSO and CLOUDSAT satellites in sun-synchronous orbit, from the Vandenberg Air
Force base in California.
Yannick d’Escatha, CNES President, said that he was extremely pleased with "this magnificent launch, which will
now enable the French-American CALIPSO satellite to fly in formation with the American AQUA and CLOUDSAT
satellites and the French PARASOL micro-satellite, all of which make up the unique Aqua-train space
observatory. This is a major success for France and the United States, particularly in terms of Space
cooperation. I would like to warmly congratulate the CNES teams, all the scientific collaborators, the
manufacturer Alcatel Alenia Space and the international partners who worked on the CALIPSO project. This
mission for studying the sustainable development of our planet is a new milestone in French-American
collaboration for Earth observation, a field in which much has already been achieved by both countries."
CALIPSO (Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infra-Red Pathfinder Satellite Observations) will provide a unique set of data
to determine vertical profiles of the Earth's atmosphere, measured by the first ever satellite-borne backscatter
lidar. This will help us to better understand our planet's extremely complex climate system and to forecast global
changes, as we are currently hampered by a lack of knowledge of the radiative impact of clouds and aerosols.
The project is being managed jointly by an integrated NASA-CNES team. NASA is responsible for the overall
system and the payload: it developed the lidar and visible-light camera jointly with Ball Aerospace and also
provided the launch vehicle. CNES developed the satellite and will be responsible for controlling it. It provided
the Proteus platform, manufactured by Alcatel Alenia Space and was prime contractor for the infrared imaging
radiometer developed by EADS Sodern. The science operations site was developed by NASA, whereas CNES is
responsible for the expertise site for the infrared imaging radiometer. All the A-train data will be processed and
enhanced in the ICARE Cloud-Aerosols-Radiation thematic centre that was set up by CNES in collaboration with
the CNRS, the University of Lille and the Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Council.
Technical teams at CNES in Toulouse are responsible for satellite positioning and took over when the satellite
separated from its launcher at H + 62 minutes. The operation managers and orbit determination and network
specialists will perform the first positioning manoeuvres as from today, to enable the satellite to reach its final orbit
in 40 days time: it will then be controlled from Toulouse, although NASA will still be responsible for the mission as
Press contact: Sandra LALY, phone +33 (0)1 44 76 77 32, +33 (0)6 08 48 39 31