NASA Deploys Miniature CubeSat to Observe Earth

NASA has successfully launched the first of two satellites dedicated to studying the amount of heat that escapes into space from the polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctica.

The compact, shoebox-sized satellite was launched on Saturday at 7:42 p.m. local time (3:42 a.m. ET) using a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from Rocket Lab’s launch facility in Mahia, New Zealand. The deployment of the satellite was confirmed to be successful at 8:35 p.m. local time (4:35 a.m. ET).

This satellite is part of the Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment, or PREFIRE, which is focused on enhancing the understanding of how heat is trapped by water vapor, clouds, and other atmospheric components, preventing it from escaping into space. This mission is vital for improving climate science.

On Wednesday, at Rocket Lab’s facility in New Saland, technicians successfully integrated PREFIRE into the payload fairing of the Rocket Lab Electron rocket.

This initiative is part of NASA’s efforts to gather data that will enhance climate models and improve predictions about how the climate crisis could impact sea levels, weather patterns, and snow and ice coverage.

Earth receives a substantial amount of solar energy, particularly in tropical regions. This energy is transported towards the poles by weather and ocean currents, where it eventually radiates into space, primarily at far-infrared wavelengths. According to NASA, this particular type of radiation has not been systematically measured until now.

The PREFIRE mission includes two CubeSats, each equipped with advanced miniature heat sensors. Following the successful launch of the first satellite, NASA plans to announce the launch date for the second satellite soon.

Once operational, the two satellites will occupy asynchronous near-polar orbits. This configuration allows them to pass over the same area at different times, collecting data within hours of each other. Such an arrangement is crucial for monitoring short-duration phenomena that require regular observation, such as the impact of changing cloud cover on Earth’s surface temperature.

Lucas Falcão

International Politics and Sports Specialist, Chief Editor of Walerts with extensive experience in breaking news.

Share this
Share on facebook
Share on telegram
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Social Trends

BreakNews Alerts in Your Email

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp