TROPICS Mission Implementation

The TROPICS constellation has two CubeSats in each of three orbital planes with the following launch parameters: equally spaced RAAN (±30° tolerance), 600 km altitude (550±50 km tolerance), 30° inclination (±3° tolerance). One CubeSat (TROPICS-01), also named the TROPICS Pathfinder, launched before the constellation on 30 June 2021 on SpaceX Transporter 2 with the Maverick Space Systems as the launch integrator. The constellation launch provider is Astra Space Inc. with launches tentatively scheduled for March 1, 2022, April 1, 2022, and May 1, 2022.
Analyses have shown orbit lifetime of 9 years, well over the expected mission lifetime of one year and well in advance of the 25-year de-orbit requirement. This configuration yields 30-minute median revisit rates with average spatial resolution better than precipitation and all-weather temperature and humidity (PATH) requirements, all from a low-cost, low-risk CubeSat constellation platform.


Video Credit: Sean Loughran and Nick Zorn (MIT LL)


Command, Control, Communication and Data Elements
for the TROPICS Constellation of CubeSats




Continuous, sustained, high-refresh imaging and sounding observations will profoundly improve our fundamental
understanding of the thermodynamic and microphysical processes driving high-impact storms.

The TROPICS Data Processing Center is at the University of Wisconsin - Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC)
providing these data products to the GES-DISC Data Active Archive Center https://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/:

    L1a Geolocated Antenna Temperatures at native spatial resolution
    L1b Geolocated Brightness Temperatures at native spatial resolution
    L2a Unified Resolution Brightness Temperatures (G-band resampled to F-band resolution)
    L2b Atmospheric Vertical Profiles: Temperature and Moisture using modified NOAA MIRS algorithm
    L2b Instantaneous Surface Rain Rate using Goddard PRPS algorithm
    L2b Tropical Cyclone Intensity: UW-M TCIE algorithm
    L2b Tropical Cyclone Intensity: Colorado State HISA algorithm

Pathfinder Data Product Maturity Levels Tracker: https://tropics.ssec.wisc.edu/