Solar radiation enters the Earth's atmosphere with a portion being scattered by clouds and aerosols.

Processing, archiving and distributing Earth science data
at the NASA Langley Research Center

CATS

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The Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) is a lidar remote sensing instrument that will provide range-resolved profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds from the International Space Station (ISS). CATS is intended to operate on-orbit for at least six months, and up to three years.  CATS will provide vertical profiles of cloud and aerosol properties at three wavelengths (1064, 532, and 355 nanometers). Onboard the space station, CATS will orbit between 375 kilometers (~230 miles) and 435 kilometers (~270 miles) above Earth’s surface at a 51-degree inclination with nearly a three-day repeat cycle. This unique orbit path will allow the CATS instrument to observe the same spot on Earth at different times each day, providing far more comprehensive coverage of the tropics and mid-latitudes (between 51.6 degrees north and south latitude) than sun-synchronous orbiting satellites (like CALIPSO) that observe the same Earth scene at the same local time each day.
Related Projects: CALIPSO