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New TROPICS Satellites Going Up Soon


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I haven't seen any discussion of this but it could provide some interesting data for this upcoming hurricane season.  

The Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission[4] is a NASA constellation of six small satellites, 3U CubeSat, that will measure temperature and moisture profiles and precipitation in tropical systems with unprecedented temporal frequency. This data will enable scientists to study the dynamic processes that occur in the inner core of the storm resulting in rapid genesis and intensification.[5] William Blackwell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts is the principal investigator.[6][7] The constellation will be delivered to orbit on three launches in April and May 2022.[1]

Mission overview[edit]

TROPICS will perform very frequent measurements, similar to X-rays, that cut through the overall cloud-cover to see the storm's underlying structure. The storm structures known as the eyewall – tall clouds, wind and rain around the eye – and rainbands – the rainy parts of the spiral arms – give us clues about whether a storm is primed to intensify into a category 4 or 5 storm, something everyone in their path needs to know.[8]

TROPICS will consist of six 3U size CubeSats, each about 10 × 10 × 36 cm (3.9 × 3.9 × 14.2 in) and weighing just 5.34 kg (11.8 lb),[9] that use scanning microwave radiometers to measure temperature, humidity, precipitation and cloud properties.[6] The CubeSats will be launched into three separate orbital planes to enable the overall constellation to monitor changes in tropical cyclones as frequently as every 21 minutes.[7] Each CubeSat will host a high-performance radiometer scanning across the satellite track at 30 RPM to provide temperature profiles using seven channels near the 118.75 GHz oxygen absorption line, water vapor profiles using 3 channels near the 183 GHz water vapor absorption line, imagery in a single channel near 90 GHz for precipitation measurements, and a single channel at 206 GHz for cloud ice measurements.[4] The investigation was selected from NASA's third Earth Venture Instrument competition.[7][3]

Goddard Space Flight Center is the NASA Center leading the mission.[10]

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On 4/14/2022 at 12:25 PM, cptcatz said:

I haven't seen any discussion of this but it could provide some interesting data for this upcoming hurricane season.  

The Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission[4] is a NASA constellation of six small satellites, 3U CubeSat, that will measure temperature and moisture profiles and precipitation in tropical systems with unprecedented temporal frequency. This data will enable scientists to study the dynamic processes that occur in the inner core of the storm resulting in rapid genesis and intensification.[5] William Blackwell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts is the principal investigator.[6][7] The constellation will be delivered to orbit on three launches in April and May 2022.[1]

Mission overview[edit]

TROPICS will perform very frequent measurements, similar to X-rays, that cut through the overall cloud-cover to see the storm's underlying structure. The storm structures known as the eyewall – tall clouds, wind and rain around the eye – and rainbands – the rainy parts of the spiral arms – give us clues about whether a storm is primed to intensify into a category 4 or 5 storm, something everyone in their path needs to know.[8]

TROPICS will consist of six 3U size CubeSats, each about 10 × 10 × 36 cm (3.9 × 3.9 × 14.2 in) and weighing just 5.34 kg (11.8 lb),[9] that use scanning microwave radiometers to measure temperature, humidity, precipitation and cloud properties.[6] The CubeSats will be launched into three separate orbital planes to enable the overall constellation to monitor changes in tropical cyclones as frequently as every 21 minutes.[7] Each CubeSat will host a high-performance radiometer scanning across the satellite track at 30 RPM to provide temperature profiles using seven channels near the 118.75 GHz oxygen absorption line, water vapor profiles using 3 channels near the 183 GHz water vapor absorption line, imagery in a single channel near 90 GHz for precipitation measurements, and a single channel at 206 GHz for cloud ice measurements.[4] The investigation was selected from NASA's third Earth Venture Instrument competition.[7][3]

Goddard Space Flight Center is the NASA Center leading the mission.[10]

Which basins? This would be helpful to use here in PR.

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16 hours ago, LansingWeather said:

Which basins? This would be helpful to use here in PR.

It will cover the entire global tropcis.  Although I just read into it a bit more and the satellites are planned to be launched on Astra rockets in May and June... Astra has had two successful launches out of eight attempts.  Not great odds for this to be ready this season.

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Quote

TROPICS will perform very frequent measurements, similar to X-rays, that cut through the overall cloud-cover to see the storm's underlying structure

Radiometers are passive sensors (They don't emit anything).  It's not really a good description to compare them to Xrays. 

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June 2022[67] LV0010[68] CC, SLC-46 TROPICS × 2 19 kg (42 lb)[69] LEO NASA Planned
First of three launches for the TROPICS constellation. Series will launch six satellites in total.[70]
10 June 2022[67] LV0011[68] CC, SLC-46 TROPICS × 2 19 kg (42 lb) LEO NASA Planned
Second of three launches for the TROPICS constellation.[70]
11 July 2022[67] LV0012[68] CC, SLC-46 TROPICS × 2 19 kg (42 lb) LEO NASA

 

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I briefly saw the rocket and got it pretty clear on footage, but it was going the exact opposite direction of what they said it would. They even have a live map thing showing it going east into the Atlantic and it was zooming straight west towards the Gulf of Mexico. Really odd! I'll upload shortly.

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1 hour ago, turtlehurricane said:

And here's my video showing it going the wrong way. Big WTF all around

Hate to break it to you but that's an airplane. You can't see Falcon 9 rockets during the day from Miami, let alone this Astra rocket which is a quarter of the size. 

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It went west? The livestream said "a nominal first stage flight". If it did go west that's pretty bad. The brief shot of Florida after first stage separation looked like it did go east.

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9 minutes ago, marsman said:

It went west? The livestream said "a nominal first stage flight". If it did go west that's pretty bad. The brief shot of Florida after first stage separation looked like it did go east.

It did go east. The Astra rocket was not visible from Miami. 

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11 minutes ago, cptcatz said:

It did go east. The Astra rocket was not visible from Miami. 

Thanks. Here's the screenshot I was talking about - looks [east] of FL, the Keys are visible on the bottom:

 

yes.jpg

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3 hours ago, cptcatz said:

Hate to break it to you but that's an airplane. You can't see Falcon 9 rockets during the day from Miami, let alone this Astra rocket which is a quarter of the size. 

Well, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the Falcon9 thing. We see every launch from here in the Miami area, as long as clouds aren't in the way.  Here's an example of one I filmed

 

As far as this Astra rocket, I won't claim to know for sure. However what I filmed is not a plane. It appeared at exactly when the Astra rocket launched. It disappeared at exactly when Astra separated stages and turned off thrust. Maybe it's an optical trick where it's really going east but looks like it's going west. Either way doesn't really matter, was just a cool thing to document.

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46 minutes ago, turtlehurricane said:

Well, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on the Falcon9 thing. We see every launch from here in the Miami area, as long as clouds aren't in the way.  Here's an example of one I filmed

 

As far as this Astra rocket, I won't claim to know for sure. However what I filmed is not a plane. It appeared at exactly when the Astra rocket launched. It disappeared at exactly when Astra separated stages and turned off thrust. Maybe it's an optical trick where it's really going east but looks like it's going west. Either way doesn't really matter, was just a cool thing to document.

That video isn't in daylight.  That was the January 31 launch which launched at 6:11pm, about 10 minutes after sunset, I watched it from my backyard and it was fantastic (although the best view still goes to the Inspiration4 launch).  Space/rockets interests me just as much as weather and I watch every single rocket launch from here in South Florida.  After numerous tries of trying to see daylight launches in cloudless skies, I eventually gave up as they are simply not visible from here.  And since the Astra rocket is 1/4 the size of a Falcon 9 and today's launch being at 1:40pm, there was a 0% chance of seeing it from Miami with the naked eye.  

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