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Pathfinder Instruments for Cloud and Aerosol Spaceborne Observations -- Climatologie Etendue des Nuages et des Aerosols
Also called Calipso (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations) or ESSP 3


Designation 29108 / 06016B
Launch date 28 Apr 2006
Country of origin United States
Operator NASA (Langley)
Mission Remote sensing
Perigee/Apogee 705 km, sun-synchronous
Inclination 98.2°
Launch vehicle Delta 2 #314

Part of the ESSP (Earth System Science Pathfinder) program. Includes the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, Paris, France. The estimated mission cost, including launch vehicle, is $173.5 million. NASA will provide $117.4 million, with France providing $56.1 million.

Part of the A-train.

In March 2009 the backup laser was activated as the primary payload has a container pressure drop.

External resources

sat-index articles


Technical data


Prime contractor Alcatel Space
Platform Proteus
Mass at launch  
Dry mass 600 kg
Solar array  
DC power EOL: 530 W
Design lifetime 3 years

Satellite Data Storage: 66 Gbits (Platform: 2 Gbits; Instrument Suite: 64 Gbits)

Will employ innovative light-detection and ranging (LIDAR) instrumentation to profile the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols, while another instrument will simultaneously image the infrared (heat) emission of the atmosphere. During the daylight half of its orbit, PICASSO-CENA will measure the reflected sunlight in an oxygen-absorption band and take images of the atmosphere with a wide-field camera.


- A 2-wavelength (532 nm and 1064 nm) polarization sensitive lidar with a 1-m telescope
- An imaging infrared radiometer (IIR), at 8.7µm, 10.5 µm, and 12.0µm
- A high resolution wide field camera (WFC), at 645 nm

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