Latest News and Updates


Feb. 2, 2024: TROPICS-03 & TROPICS-06 Provisional Data Products Release: L1a, L1b, & L2a

GES DISC Announcement


Nov. 29, 2023: TROPICS Mission is included in Eyes on the Earth


Nov. 6, 2023: TROPICS Mission is a finalist for the Civil Space Achievement of the Year Award (SpaceNews 2023 Icon Awards)


October 2023: TROPICS Mission profiled in NASA's The Earth Observer


Sept. 12, 2023: TROPICS TC imagery hosted at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


August 7, 2023: TROPICS cubesat constellation ready for hurricane season


July 19, 2023: NASA's TROPICS Offers Multiple Views of Intensifying Hurricanes

This Week @ NASA (YouTube)


May 26, 2023: TROPICS Ground Segment is communicating with both TROPICS-03 & TROPICS-07 from Rocket Lab's second TROPICS launch


May 24, 2023: TROPICS Second Launch with Rocket Lab scheduled for tonight (midnight EDT)


May 21, 2023: TROPICS Second Launch with Rocket Lab NET May 25th NZST


May 15, 2023: TROPICS Launch Date Set for Second Rocket Lab Launch


May 8, 2023: The TROPICS Ground Segment is communicating with both TROPICS-05 & TROPICS-06 from the first Rocket Lab launch


May 7, 2023: Rocket Lab confirms TROPICS CubeSat release


May 5, 2023: NASA, Rocket Lab Update Launch Coverage for Tropical Cyclones Mission


Apr. 28, 2023: Initial date for first Rocket Lab launch delayed due to weather


Apr. 26, 2023: TROPICS Launch Information: "Rocket Like a Hurricane" (Space Vehicles TROPICS-05 & TROPICS-06)

  • Friday, April 28 at 4 p.m. EDT: NASA and Rocket Lab will host a media teleconference for the TROPICS mission. The teleconference audio will be livestreamed on NASA's website
  • Sunday, April 30 at 9:00 p.m. EDT: Two-hour launch window opens from Rocket Lab's LC1
  • At approximately 8:40 p.m. EDT – Live launch coverage begins (
  • Follow countdown coverage on NASA’s launch blog ( ) for live updates beginning no earlier than 8 p.m. as the countdown milestones occur.
  • On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff at and
  • Watch, Engage on Social Media:
    • Twitter: @NASA_LSP, @NASAEarth, @NASAKennedy, @NASA, @RocketLab
    • Facebook: NASA, NASA LSP, RocketLabUSA
    • Instagram: @NASA, @NASAEarth, @RocketLabUSA


Apr. 10, 2023: Rocket Lab to Launch NASA’s Cyclone-Tracking Satellite Constellation from New Zealand


Apr. 6, 2023: The TROPICS Mission successfully passed a "delta" Key Decision Point for Phase E (KDP-E) for the May 2023 Rocket Lab launches

KDP-E provides permission to move forward with the launches and start operations.


Nov. 23, 2022: NASA has selected Rocket Lab USA Inc. to provide the launch service for the agency’s TROPICS mission.


Sep. 28, 2022: TROPICS mission moves to Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) IDIQ contract targeting the 2023 hurricane season.


Aug. 22, 2022: The TROPICS Pathfinder satellite is a 2022 R&D 100 winner in the Prototyping Category


Aug. 4, 2022: Astra cancels Rocket 3 to focus on larger vehicle


June 10, 2022: Astra cleared for TROPICS launches by FAA

Astra video discussing mission


June 9, 2022 Spacenews: Astra ready for first of three NASA TROPICS launches


June 8, 2022: Astra TROPICS-1 Website (Space Vehicles TROPICS-02 & TROPICS-04)


May 10, 2022: Astra Space's Launch Readiness


Mar. 31, 2022: The TROPICS Mission successfully passed the Key Decision Point for Phase E (KDP-E)

KDP-E provides permission to move forward with the launches and start operations.

In February 2022, TROPICS completed the Operational Readiness Review and Mission Readiness Review.


Mar. 15, 2022: Astra Space's Astra-1 launch

Spaceflight's Astra-1 Mission Full Recap (YouTube)


Dec. 13, 2021: TROPICS featured in "Tour 2022: NASA's Upcoming Earth Missions"


Nov. 22, 2021: Astra Rocket 3.3 reaches orbit


Sept. 26, 2021: UW-M SSEC CIMSS Satellite Blog: TROPICS Pathfinder view of super typhoon Mindulle


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 28, 2021: How a Squad of Small Satellites Will Help NASA Study Storms Observers


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