Latest News and Updates


Sept. 13, 2021: NASA’s TROPICS Pathfinder Satellite Produces Global First Light Images and Captures Hurricane Ida


Sept. 3, 2021: NASA Test Satellite Provides Insight into Hurricane Ida


August 30, 2021: TROPICS Pathfinder measures Hurricane Ida (Cat 4).

Images from the 205-GHz channel just before and after Ida makes landfall. This channel is the highest frequency, and therefore is the most sensitive to scattering off of precipitation. The Tropical Cyclone's rainbands are clearly visible, which would be obfuscated under the clouds in VIS/IR images.


August 17, 2021: UW-M SSEC has started the TROPICS Data Processing Center commissioning.


July 29, 2021: KXAN: How tiny satellites could help warn the next big hurricane


July 23, 2021: BCT has successfully completed their TROPICS Pathfinder bus commissioning. Payload commissioning begins on 26-July-2021.


July 16, 2021: TROPICS Pathfinder has been successfully identified as Object Y from the Transporter 2 launch of 88 satellites (NORAD ID: 48901)

Track Pathfinder


July 1, 2021: KSAT and BCT make initial contact with Pathfinder


June 30, 2021 at 19:31 UTC: SpaceX Transporter 2 (Falcon 9) launch with TROPICS Pathfinder (TROPICS-01) onboard

Link to launch video

Link to Stage-1 landing burn and second engine cut-off

Link to deployment of TROPICS Pathfinder satellite


June 30, 2021: Pathfinder Satellite Paves Way for Constellation of Tropical-storm Observers


June 30, 2021: Small Satellites to Study Big Storms – NASA Prepares for the TROPICS Mission


June 25, 2021: WIRED: Tiny Satellites Could Help Warn of the Next Big Hurricane


June 24, 2021: Sneak preview of TROPICS mission with rare pathfinder launch


Feb. 26, 2021: NASA selects Astra Space Inc. for TROPICS constellation Launch Provider


Dec. 8, 2017: NASA Policy Provides New Approach To Space Science And Technology Missions


March 10, 2016: NASA selects TROPICS in the Earth Venture Instrument 3 Competition