CATS Up and Running on the Space Station

  • Released Thursday, February 26, 2015
  • ID: 11787

The Cloud-Aerosol Tranpsort System (CATS) was installed on the International Space Station on January 22, 2015. Data from CATS will help scientists model the structure of dust plumes and other atmospheric features, which can travel far distances and impact air quality. Climate scientists will also use the CATS data, along with data from other Earth-observing instruments, to look at trends and interactions in clouds and aerosols over time.

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On January 22, 2015, the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System was installed on the International Space Station. This procedure involved the first ever hand-off between the two robotic arms on the ISS, with the first arm removing the instrument from the SpaceX Dragon capsule that ferried it to the station, and the second arm taking the instrument and moving it to the Japanese Experiment Module, where it was installed.

The team monitored the progress of the installation from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where the Cloud-Aerosol Tranpsort System (CATS) was designed and built. Once installed, the team powered up the system and initiated configuration procedures. Once set up, the telescope door was opened and they prepared to collect data.

CATS is a lidar remote sensing instrument that will provide range-resolved profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds. Data from the instrument will be used to determine the height and thickness of the cloud or aerosol layer, as well as discriminate between different particle types. The instrument is intended to operate on-orbit for at least six months, and up to three years.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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