NASA picks Delta 2 to launch ESSP 3 and CloudSat craft
Posted: August 25, 2001

NASA has announced that it is exercising a contract option with the Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, CA, for a Delta 2 vehicle to launch the ESSP 3/CloudSat mission. The spacecraft are planned for launch on April 30, 2004.

This firm-fixed price option is covered under the NASA Med-Lite contract awarded to Boeing in 1996. NASA's total launch services budget for the ESSP 3/CloudSat mission is valued at approximately $60 million.

File image of a Boeing Delta 2 rocket launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The West Coast site will be the launch pad for the ESSP 3/CloudSat mission. Photo: William G. Hartenstein
ESSP-3 (formerly Picasso-CENA), the third mission of the NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program, will carry three instruments to study clouds and chemicals in the Earth's atmosphere. The ESSP-3 satellite flies in formation with the Aqua spacecraft to provide a comprehensive global dataset which will greatly improve our ability to predict future climate change.

ESSP-3 is a collaboration between NASA's Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton, VA; the French space agency CNES, Paris; Hampton University, Hampton, VA; the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), Paris; and Ball Aerospace Corp., Boulder, CO.

CloudSat's trio of satellites will be the first spacecraft to study clouds on a global basis, contributing to better predictions of clouds and their role in climate change. The CloudSat mission is a partnership between Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; NASA; the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA; the Canadian Space Agency, Saint-Hubert; the U.S. Air Force; the U.S. Department of Energy; and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO.

NASA's ESSP 3/CloudSat Program is managed by the Earth Science Enterprise and NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., and by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.