CloudSat is the first satellite that uses an advanced radar to "slice" through clouds to see their vertical structure, providing a completely new observational capability from space (previous weather satellites could only image the uppermost layers of clouds). CloudSat's primary goal is to furnish data needed to evaluate and improve the way clouds are represented in global models, thereby contributing to better predictions of clouds and thus to their poorly understood role in climate change and the cloud-climate feedback.
CloudSat is an international and interagency mission with project management by JPL. Partners include the Canadian Space Agency, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Energy. Ball Aerospace designed and built the spacecraft.
Purpose: Radar studies of clouds