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CALIPSO celebrates ten years of cloud observations from space

21 April 2016

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Pessimists doubted that CALIPSO could possibly function very long as a satellite orbiting and observing the Earth.

"Even when we were ready for launch, people said, ‘Oh, it's going to die after a month,'" recalled David Winker, NASA's principal investigator for the mission whose name stands for Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation.

Thinking back, Winker said he could understand the scepticism, even if he didn't share it. "A million things can go wrong," he said. "For this to be a success, pretty much everything had to go right."

But the winning streak that began with the CALIPSO satellite's launch 28 April, 2006, shows no sign of ending. After 10 years, CALIPSO continues to overachieve in its mission to gather unique data about our home planet's clouds and other tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere. Originally designed as a three-year mission, it's approaching its 10th anniversary without missing a step.

Source: NASA

Image credit: NASA - Artist's impression of CALIPSO

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