Cloud CubeSat is the CubeSat Program under the University
of Maryland-Baltimore County with the NASA Goddard Space
Flight Center Climate and Radiation Branch. The overall mission
of the project is to measure the vertical profile of clouds as an
investigation of cloud microphysics and thermal properties.
The current approach to measuring cloud composition is an inefficient,
often inaccurate method. Researchers collect data by flying to various
altitudes and accumulate the results into a general view of the vertical profiles.
The greatest detriment to this approach is the large
amount of time it takes to change altitude relative to the time in
which cloud composition can change. This difference in time scales leads
to inaccurate data and observations.
By using a low-orbiting satellite, researchers eliminate these detriments
and obtain a reliable way of measuring cloud composition. The greatest
benefits of using this approach is that the entire vertical profile of
the cloud can be captures at once. This advantage allows researchers to view
the change in cloud composition over time. Additionally, the profiles are
caught at a constant angle, simplifying the calculations needed to measure
the cloud composition as a function of altitude.
Finally, the advantagees of using a low-orbiting satellite are listed above. However,
a typical CubeSat is too small to house all the components necessary in
gathering the appropriate data. Consequently, the Cloud CubeSat
makes use of three standard CubeSat satellites culminating in a 30cm x 10cm x 10cm pico-