EarthCare Mission
29 May 2024

The Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) was successfully launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg, California at 22:20 UTC on 28 May 2024.

The joint satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) carries four instruments – a cloud-profiling radar (CPR), a high-spectral-resolution lidar (ATLID), a multi-spectral imager (MSI), and a three-view broad-band radiometer (BBR) – and will provide synergistic observations of aerosols, clouds, radiation, and their interactions with unprecedented accuracy. EarthCARE is a counterpart to the ACTRIS aerosol and cloud remote sensing stations, and ACTRIS is ideally suited for EarthCARE Cal/Val and joint research activities.

The EarthCARE launch event, organised by ESA at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, was attended by around 300 guests, including ACTRIS scientists who are contributing their expertise to the EarthCARE algorithm development and Cal/Val organisation.  After the successful launch and reception of the first signal, including the message about the deployment of the solar panels, the tension in the audience eased and a long night of celebration followed.

The ACTRIS Cal/Val activities for EarthCARE have been prepared over the last months with the help of the ATMO-ACCESS project. Collocated observations will start as soon as the EarthCARE instruments are switched on and deliver their first regular data, which is expected in July-August. Stay tuned!


Find out more about EarthCARE:


Find out more about the ACTRIS Cal/Val acitivity:


Ein Bild, das Im Haus, Tagung, Stuhl, Tagungszentrum enthält.

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The moment of launch as seen by the audience at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany (Credit: ESA/J. Mai).