BOULDER, Colo., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. today celebrates the eighth anniversary of on-orbit operations for the CloudSat and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) Earth science satellites. The company designed and built the CloudSat spacecraft bus and the CALIPSO instrument that launched April 28, 2006 to join the constellation of spacecraft called the "A-Train," dedicated to studying the Earth's weather and environment.
"The innovative Earth science provided by these two missions has been felt on a global scale," said Jim Oschmann, Vice President and General Manager for Ball's Civil Space and Technology business unit. "The longevity of both spacecraft demonstrate Ball's significant track record for high reliability missions on a cost-constrained budget." Under contract to NASA Langley Research Center, Ball was responsible for two scientific instruments, the communications suite and integrating the payload for CALIPSO, the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder and Satellite Observations mission. Ball's lidar (light detection and ranging) instrument provides accurate, high resolution, vertical profiles of clouds and aerosols while the Wide Field camera provides a large scale view of the atmosphere. Working jointly with a third instrument supplied by the French Centre National D'Etude Spatiales (CNES) these instruments enable improved predictions of climate change, aerosol 3-D structure and air quality. The CALIPSO lasers have generated more than four billion pulses to help scientists understand how clouds and aerosols affect Earth's climate.