The Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer, EarthCARE, is equipped with two main instruments, a lidar plus radar – along with a smaller radiometer and cloud imager – which are powered in turn by this mammoth 11-m-long solar wing.
EarthCARE will fill a missing dimension in current climate change modelling: the role of clouds and aerosols in reflecting incoming solar radiation back out to space and trapping infrared radiation as it is emitted from Earth’s surface. Is the net effect a heating or cooling of Earth’s atmosphere?
Developed as a joint venture between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, the front of the van-sized EarthCARE satellite hosts its quartet of instruments with its solar wing deployed from its rear.
The satellite is set to undergo seven months of testing at the 3000 sq. m ESTEC Test Centre to check every aspect of its readiness for space, starting with a recent deployment test of its solar wing from stowed configuration.