Programs & Missions

NASA's current Earth observing fleet of satellites as of March 2019, including international collaborations. Credit: NASA

NASA's current Earth observing fleet of satellites as of March 2019, including international collaborations. Credit: NASA

View NASA Earth Data Products with Applications for Hazards & Disasters

NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) is a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low inclination satellites for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. As a major component of the Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, EOS enables an improved understanding of the Earth as an integrated system. 

These satellites are a critical tool for disaster researchers to monitor natural hazards around the world both in near-realtime and with predictive modeling, providing invaluable data for response efforts on the ground. Combined with airborne science assets, hazard models, and partnerships with disaster response agencies around the world, the NASA Disasters program leverages the Earth observing fleet to ready new methods of detecting, evaluating, and predicting disasters and their social, cultural, and economic consequences with the goal of reducing risk and strengthening resilience.

CEOS Logo

Providing a global perspective, the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) is an international body of agencies and groups that work together to coordinate and harmonize Earth observations to make it easier for the user community to access and use data. The CEOS Database is a living collection of agencies, missions, instruments and available data.  It is widely regarded as the definitive reference for government-sponsored civil satellite Earth observing programmes and their capabilities.


The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2), a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) satellite, is a follow-on mission from the "DAICHI", which contributed to cartography, regional...

 

Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and...

 

ARIA is a collaboration between JPL and Caltech to exploit radar and optical remote sensing, GPS, and seismic observations for hazard science and response.   ARIA investigates the processes and impacts of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, fires, subsurface fluid movement and other natural hazards...

 

ASI

The Italian Space Agency was founded in 1988. Its purpose was to coordinate all of Italy's efforts and investments in the space sector that had begun in the 1960s. Within over twenty years' time, ASI became one...

 

ASP

The NASA Airborne Science ER-2 aircraft on takeoff. The Airborne Science Program (ASP) within the Earth Science Division is responsible for providing aircraft systems that further science and...

 

Aura (Latin for breeze) obtains measurements of ozone, aerosols and key gases throughout the atmosphere using technologically innovative space instrumentation. Scientists use these data to gain revolutionary insights into the chemistry of our atmosphere. Learn more: ...

 

The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite provides new insight into the role that clouds and atmospheric aerosols (airborne particles) play in regulating Earth's weather, climate, and air quality. CALIPSO combines an active lidar instrument with...

 

Part of NASA's fleet of weather- and climate-tracking satellites, CloudSat uses advanced radar to examine the inner structure of clouds, helping researchers better understand how severe tropical cyclones as well as climate changes related to clouds occur. In August 2010, CloudSat embarked on a new...

 

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) is a constellation of eight microsatellites that will use existing Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to obtain estimates of surface winds near the core of hurricanes, including regions beneath the eyewall and intense inner-rain bands...

 

The Flood Observatory’s mission is to: Conduct global remote sensing-based fresh water measurement and mapping in "near real time" and record such information into a permanent archive. Collaborate with humanitarian and water organizations in partnerships for enabling the maximum...

 

The Earth Observatory’s mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about the environment, Earth systems, and climate that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and models. The Earth Observatory staff is supported by the ...

 

ECOSTRESS launched to the space station in June 2018. It can measure variations in temperature to within a few tenths of a degree and is able to detect temperature changes at various times of day over areas as small as a football field. ECOSTRESS' primary mission is to detect plant health from...

 

NASA operates two ER-2 aircraft as readily deployable high altitude sensor platforms to collect remote sensing and in situ data on earth resources, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes. The aircraft also are used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite...

 

Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date. It will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. Copernicus is the new name for the...

 

This digital camera image of flooding in Peru in April 2017 was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station and georeferenced by members of the NASA Earth Science and Remote...

 

The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) mission onboard the International Space Station (ISS) uses a three-LiDAR system to map global forest vertical structure. This information, compared with historical information on forest canopy structure and extent, helps to characterize and...

 

The GFMS is a NASA-funded experimental system using real-time TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) precipitation information as input to a quasi-global (50°N - 50°S) hydrological runoff and routing model running on a 1/8th degree latitude/longitude grid. Flood detection/intensity...

 

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program (GOES) is a joint effort of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The GOES system currently consists of GOES-13, operating as GOES-East, in the eastern part of the constellation at 75 degrees west...

 

GPM

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international network of satellites that provide the next-generation global observations of rain and snow. Building upon the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the GPM concept centers on the deployment of a “Core”...

 

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which orbited Earth from 2002-2017. GRACE-FO will carry on the extremely successful...

 

The Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, measures the height of a changing Earth, one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses a second. Launched September 15, 2018, ICESat-2 carries a photon-counting laser altimeter that will allow scientists to measure the elevation of ice...

 

The Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia was meant to gather all scientific and technical institutions operating in Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy and to create a permanent scientific forum in the Earth Sciences. INGV cooperates with universities and other national public and private...

 

The International Space Station (ISS) is more powerful, and 4 times larger, than any human space craft ever built. ISS flies in an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees, approximately 240 miles above...

 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). It was designated as a core...

 

The LANCE logo.  The Land and Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) was initiated by NASA Flight, Research and Applied Sciences Programs in 2009 to provide NASA data products in Near...

 

Launched on February 11, 2013, Landsat 8 (formerly the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, LDCM) is the future of Landsat satellites. It is collecting valuable data and imagery to be used in agriculture,...

 

LIS

The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) onboard the International Space Station (ISS) is a space-based instrument used to detect the distribution and variability of total lightning (cloud-to-cloud, intra-cloud, and cloud-to-ground lightning). It measures the amount, rate, and radiant energy of lightning...

 

NASA's Hurricane & Tropical Cyclone Web Page is one of the only information sites that covers all tropical cyclones around the world. NASA's Hurricane page covers all ocean basins and provides data on tropical cyclones with NASA satellite data. Information from NOAA's National Hurricane...

 

The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission uses advanced radar imaging to provide unprecedented, global integrated measurements of the causes and consequences of Earth’s land surface changes. The mission is a partnership between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)....

 

OCO-2, launched in 2014, gathers global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the resolution, precision and coverage needed to understand how this important greenhouse gas -- the principal human-produced driver of climate change -- moves through the Earth system at regional scales, and...

 

The OCO-3 Project science objectives (similar to OCO-2) are to collect the space-based measurements needed to quantify variations in the column averaged atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) dry air mole fraction, XCO2, with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to improve our understanding of...

 

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE-III) mission onboard the International Space Station (ISS) investigates the vertical distribution of ozone, trace gases and aerosols in Earth’s stratosphere and troposphere. These measurements will improve our understanding of ozone generation and...

 

SERVIR is a global network of regional partners dedicated to environmental management through the integration of Earth observations and geospatial technologies. Credits: NASA SERVIR...

 

SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) is a remote sensing observatory that carries two instruments that can map soil moisture and determine the freeze or thaw state of the same area being mapped. Soil moisture content is mapped via a combination of radar and radiometer measurements, while the freeze/...

 

The Solar Radiation and Climate (SORCE) satellite improves our understanding of the Sun by generating new inquiry regarding how and why solar variability occurs and how it affects our atmosphere and climate. This knowledge is used to estimate past and future solar behavior and climate response...

 

SPoRT - the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center - is a NASA project to transition unique observations and research capabilities to the operational weather community to improve short-term...

 

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, formerly known as the NPOESS Preparatory Project, serves as a bridge between the EOS satellites and the forthcoming series of Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites. Suomi NPP is the first satellite mission to address the challenge of acquiring a...

 

Approximately the size of a small school bus, the Terra satellite carries five instruments that take coincident measurements of the Earth system: Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Multi-angle Imaging...

 

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), which flew from Novemer 2017 - June 2015, was a research satellite designed to improve our understanding of the distribution and variability of precipitation within the tropics as part of the water cycle in the current climate system. By covering the...

 

NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats, or TROPICS, mission is a constellation of small satellites that will...

 

The Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS)-1 mission onboard the International Space Station (ISS) collects data on the sun’s energy output. These data increase our understanding of how much energy input the sun provides to the Earth geophysical system, and also how the atmosphere...