Launch Date

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The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) Mission (Europe)

MIRAS (Microwave Imaging Radiometer using Aperture Synthesis) passive L-band 2D-interferometer

The overall objectives of the SMOS mission are to provide global observations of two crucial variables for modeling the weather and climate, Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity. It will also monitor the vegetation water content, snow cover, and ice structure.

2007 (estimated)


Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)

Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR)—Primary Satellite GPM Microwave Imager (GMI)

Various passive microwave radiometers

GPM is a joint mission with the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan and other international partners. Building upon the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), it will initiate the measurement of global precipitation, a key climate factor.

2007 (estimated)




Its science objectives are: to improve ongoing efforts to predict climate by providing near-global measurement of precipitation, its distribution, and physical processes; to improve the accuracy of weather and precipitation forecasts through more accurate measurement of rain rates and latent heating; and to provide more frequent and complete sampling of Earth’s precipitation.


The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Mission (GOCE) (Europe)


GOCE is intended to provide the unique data set required to formulate global and regional models of Earth’s gravity field and the geoid (its reference equipotential surface) to high spatial resolution and accuracy. It will also advance research in the fields of steady-state ocean circulation, physics of Earth’s interior and leveling systems (based on GPS).

2006 (estimated)


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