List of Earth observation satellites

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Partial list of Earth observation satellites by series/program.


Scientific research from NASA/ESA/JAXA[edit]

The invention of climate research through the use of satellite remote telemetry began in the 1960s through development of space probes to study other planets. During the U.S. economic decline in 1977, with much of NASA's money going toward the Shuttle program, the Reagan Administration proposed to reduce spending on planetary exploration. During this time, new scientific evidence emerged from ice and sediment cores that Earth's climate had experienced rapid changes in temperature, running contrary to the previously held belief that the climate changed on a geological time scale. These changes increased political interest in gathering remote-sensing data on the Earth itself and stimulated the science of climatology.[2]

Name Status Agency Launch Description
ACRIMSAT Contact lost in December 2013[3] NASA 1999 studies sun's infrared to ultraviolet output.[4]
Aqua Active NASA 2002 carries six instruments to observe interactions among the four sphere's for earth's systems: oceans, land, atmosphere, and biosphere.[5]
AQUARIUS Mission ended June 2015 due to satellite power supply failure[6] NASA & CONAE 2011 instrument on board SAC-D spacecraft measured salt concentrations in ocean surface needed to understand heat transport and storage in the ocean.[1]
AURA Active NASA 2004 studies earth's ozone, air quality, and climate though observation of composition, chemistry, and dynamics of the atmosphere.[7]
CALIPSO Active NASA 2006 studies thickness of clouds and aerosols for understanding of how much air pollution is present and changes in compositions in the atmosphere.[8]
CloudSat Active NASA/Canada 2006 monitors the state of earth's atmosphere and weather through radar, which can be used to predict which clouds produce rain, observe snowfall, and monitor the moisture content of clouds.[9]
Deep Space Climate Observatory Active NASA 2015[10] To study the Sun-lit side of Earth from the L1 Lagrange point
EarthCARE Planned ESA/JAXA 2022 EarthCARE - Study of clouds and aerosols.[11]
Earth Observing-1 (NMP) Retired NASA 2001 carrying land-imaging technology, used to demonstrate new instruments and spacecraft systems for future missions.[12] Retired on 30 March 2017.[13]
Global Precipitation Measurement Active NASA/JAXA 2014[14] studies global precipitation.[15]
GLORY Launch Failure[16] NASA 2011 studies aerosols, including black carbon, in addition to solar irradiance for the long-term effects.[17]
GOES-12, -13, -14, -15 Retired NASA 2001 monitors weather for NOAA.[18]
GOES-16, -17 Active NASA 2016 monitors weather for NOAA.
GRACE Retired[19] NASA and German Space Agency 2002 observes and measures earth's gravitational field, which may help determining the shape and composition of the planet's distribution of water and ice.[20]
GRACE-2 Retired[21] NASA 2002 Measures Earth's gravity field in order to track large scale water movement.[22]
GRACE-FO Active NASA 2018[23][24] Gravity and climate. The mission will track changes in global sea levels, glaciers, and ice sheets, as well as large lake and river water levels, and soil moisture.[25]
ICESat Retired NASA 2003 keeps track of size and thickness of earth's ice sheets.[26]
ICESat-2 Active NASA 2018 Measure ice sheet height changes for climate change diagnoses.[27][28]
Jason-1 Retired CNES/NASA 2001 uses a radar altimeter to monitor ocean surface height.[29]
Jason-2 Retired CNES/NASA 2008[30] uses a radar altimeter to monitor ocean surface height.[29]
Jason-3 Active CNES/NASA 2016[30] uses a radar altimeter to monitor ocean surface height.[29]
LAGEOS 1&2 Active NASA 1976 LAGEOS 1 launched in 1976, LAGEOS 2, launched in 1992 used for orbiting benchmark for geodynamical studies.[31]
Landsat-7 Active NASA 1999 takes digital images of earth's coastal areas with global coverage on a seasonal basis.[32]
Landsat 8 Active NASA 2013[33] takes digital images of earth's coastal areas with global coverage on a seasonal basis.[32]
Proba-V Active ESA 2013 V stands for Vegetation: to continue the traditional Vegetation products (1 km x 1 km) started with SPOT (free data for scientific purposes) [2]
QuikSCAT Retired NASA 1997 monitors weather using bursts of microwaves which measure wind speeds.[34]
SEASTAR (SEAWIFS) Retired NASA 1997 designed to monitor the color of earth's oceans.[35][36]
SMAP Active with partial failure NASA 2015 Measures soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state, which enhance understanding of processes that link water, energy, and carbon cycles to extend the capabilities of weather and climate models. Radar payload failed in July 2015, leaving a radiometer as the primary instrument of the mission.[37]
SORCE Active NASA 2003 monitors total output from the sun for understanding of earth's absorption of radiation energy.[27]
SWOT Planned NASA 2021 Measures sea surface heights and terrestrial water heights.[38][3]
TERRA Active NASA/Canada/Japan 1999 carries five instruments to observe the state of the atmosphere, land, and oceans, as well as their interactions with solar radiation and with one another.[39]
TRMM Retired NASA/JAXA 1997 carries five instruments which uses radar and sensors of visible infrared light to closely monitor precipitation.[40]
CLARREO Proposed NASA Measures spectrally resolved Earth's reflectance and emitted radiation, and radio occultation derived refractivity; establishes on-orbit calibration reference; benchmarks and attributes change of climate.[41]
DESDynI Proposed NASA Measures surface and ice sheet deformation to determine natural hazards of climate.[42]
HyspIRI Proposed NASA Monitors land surface composition for agriculture and mineral characterization for ecosystem health.[43]
ASCENDS Proposed NASA Measures the number density of CO2 in a column of beneath the craft in addition to ambient temperature and pressure.[44]
GEO-CAPE Proposed NASA Monitors atmospheric gas columns for air-quality forecasts.[45]
ACE Proposed NASA Using lidar, creates aerosol and cloud profiles.[46]
LIST Proposed NASA Measure surface topography to look for landslide hazard and water runoffs.[46]
PATH Proposed NASA Performs high-frequency, all-weather and humidity soundings for weather forecastings.[47]
SCLP Proposed NASA Measures snow accumulation for fresh water availability.[48]
GACM Proposed NASA Monitors ozone and related gases for intercontinental air quality and stratospheric ozone layer prediction.[49]
3D-Winds Proposed NASA Monitor tropospheric winds for weather forecasting and pollution transport.[50]

Weather observation and forecasting[edit]

GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite)[edit]

17 Satellites, 2 in operation

Polar Operational Environmental Satellites[edit]

10 Satellites, 5 in operation.[51]

Joint Polar Satellite System[edit]

successor to planned National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program

Japan Meteorological Agency[edit]


Landsat program[edit]

Landsat Data Continuity Mission Observatory testing


China National Space Administration (CNSA)[edit]

Brazilian Space Agency (AEB)[edit]

Argentina Space Agency (CONAE)[edit]

Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)[edit]

European Space Agency (ESA)[edit]

A full-size model of an Earth observation satellite from ESA, ERS 2.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)[edit]

JAXA (former NASDA)[edit]

Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional (LAPAN INDONESIA)[edit]

Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC)[edit]



Project Vanguard[edit]

National Academy of Sciences of Republic of Belarus[edit]


Pakistan's SUPARCO (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission)[edit]

Philippine Space Agency[edit]

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)[edit]

Swedish National Space Board[edit]

Venezuelan Agency for Space Activities[edit]


11 Geostationary Weather Satellites, 5 in operation:

3 Polar Orbiting Weather Satellites, all in operation:

  • Metop-A
  • Metop-B
  • Metop-C

RADARSAT series[edit]

South Korea[edit]






Meteor series[edit]

FY (Feng Yun) series[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Satellite Constellations from". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  2. ^ Jackson, Randal (2007). "Climate Change: NASA's Role". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory\California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Sun sets for a NASA solar monitoring spacecraft." Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved: 9 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "qua Earth-observing satellite mission". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Aquarius end of mission announcement". Gary Lagerloef and Sandra Torrusio. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  7. ^ "The Aura Mission". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  8. ^ "NASA - Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations". Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  9. ^ "CloudSat - Home". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  10. ^ "DSCOVR Space Weather Sentinel Reaches Finish Line." Spaceflight Now. Retrieved: 21 December 2016.
  11. ^ "ESA's cloud, aerosol and radiation mission". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  12. ^ "EO-1 Home - Earth Observing Mission 1". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Pioneering Earth Observation Satellite Retired by NASA". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved: 3 April 2017.
  14. ^ "GPM Launch Information". NASA. Retrieved: 21 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Precipitation Measurement Missions - An international partnership to understand precipitation and its impact on humankind". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Loss of satellite is 'serious setback' for Earth climate research". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved: 21 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Decay Data: GRACE-1". Space-Track. 10 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Home". GRACE Tellus. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Decay Data: GRACE-2". Space-Track. 24 December 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "GRACE-FO Mission". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  24. ^ Weitering, Hanneke (22 May 2018). "SpaceX Launches Twin NASA Probes to Track Earth's Water (and Satellites Hitch a Ride)". Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  25. ^ "GRACE Tellus: GRACE-FO". GRACE Tellus. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  26. ^ Neumann, Tom. "NASA: ICESat & ICESat-2". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  27. ^ a b "Home". SMAP. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  28. ^ Neumann, Tom. "NASA: ICESat-2". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  29. ^ a b c "OSTM: Home Page". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Ocean Surface Topography from Space." Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved: 21 December 2016.
  31. ^ "Satellite LAGEOS-1". 4 December 2009. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Landsat Science". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  33. ^ "Landsat Science". NASA. Retrieved: 21 December 2016.
  34. ^ ": QuikSCAT". Archived from the original on 14 January 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 December 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ "CLARREO". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  37. ^ "NASA Soil Moisture Radar Ends Operations, Mission Science Continues." NASA. Retrieved: 21 December 2016.
  38. ^ "Laser Sounder for Measurements of Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations for the ASCENDS Mission" (PDF). Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  39. ^ "Welcome to the Home Page of the SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE)". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Terra: the EOS Flagship". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  41. ^ "CLARREO". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  42. ^ "desdyni: Home". 25 January 2009. Archived from the original on 25 January 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  43. ^ "Welcome to HyspIRI Mission Study Website — Hyperspectral Infrared Imager". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  44. ^ "NASA Earth Science Decadal Survey Studies". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  45. ^ "SWOT: Home Page". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  46. ^ a b "Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystems (ACE) Technology Investments" (PDF). Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  48. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  49. ^ Livesey, N. J.; Santee, M. L.; Stek, P. C.; Waters, J. W.; Levelt, P.; Veefkind, P.; Kumer, J.; Roche, A. (1 December 2007). "A Future "Global Atmospheric Composition Mission" (GACM) Concept". AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12. Bibcode:2007AGUFM.A12A..08L.
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 September 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ "POES Status". Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  52. ^ a b "Himawari-8/9". Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  53. ^ "MTSat 1, 1R (Himawari 6)". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  54. ^ "Internal Waves in the Banda Sea « CIMSS Satellite Blog". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  55. ^ "Meteorological Satellites - Japan Meteorological Agency". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  56. ^ "List of Earth Observation Satellites".
  57. ^ "IRS-P3". Earthnet Online. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  58. ^ "IRS-P2". Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. VSSC. Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  59. ^ a b "IRS-1C/1D (Indian Remote Sensing Satellites-1C/1D)". Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  60. ^ a b "IRS (Indian Remote Sensing Satellites) - Overview and early LEO Program of ISRO". Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  61. ^ "Pakistan launches remote sensing satellite in China". DAWN. 9 July 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  62. ^ Tomasz Nowakowski (10 July 2018). "Long March 2C orbits two Earth-observing satellites for Pakistan". SpaceFlight Insider. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  63. ^ "Göktürk-2". 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  64. ^ NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]