NASA, Rocket Lab Launch First Pair of Storm-Observing CubeSats 

by | May 8, 2023

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 1 at Māhia, New Zealand, carrying two TROPICS CubeSats for NASA. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Two NASA CubeSats designed to study tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and typhoons, are in orbit after successfully launching on May 8, 2023. 

The first pair of the agency’s TROPICS (Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats) lifted off aboard an Electron rocket from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 Pad B in Māhia, New Zealand.  

TROPICS is a constellation of four identical CubeSats designed to observe tropical cyclones in a unique, inclined low Earth orbit over Earth’s tropics, an orbit that allows them to travel over any given storm about once an hour. Current weather tracking satellites have a timing of about once every six hours. 




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