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These missions explored the boundaries of our understanding of the complex, dynamic system we call the Earth.  They have been retired, but are not forgotten.  We hope they inspire the next generation of explorers by providing opportunities for learners of all ages to discover the exciting past efforts by NASA in its research.

*Sort missions by clicking the column headers.

DivisionNameLaunch DatePhase
ACRIMSAT is the latest in a series of long-term solar-monitoring missions, utilizing the proven Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor III (ACRIM III) instrument. This mission is part of SMD's Earth Systematic Missions program.
19991220 December 20, 1999 4Past
Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS) was the first international space platform dedicated to Earth environmental research developed and managed by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) (The Japanese call her MIDORI).
19960817 August 17, 1996 4Past
ATLAS missions were part of Phase I of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, a large-scale, unified study of planet Earth as a single, dynamic system. Throughout the ATLAS series, scientists gathered new information to gain a better understanding of how ...
19920324 March 24, 1992 4Past
Earth ATS
The Applications Technology Satellite series was a set of 6 NASA spacecraft created to explore & flight test new technologies and techniques for communications, meteorological and navigation satellites.
19661207 December 07, 1966 4Past
CHAMP generated, for the first time, simultaneously highly precise gravity and magnetic field measurements over a 10 year period. This allows the tracing of spatial and time variations of both fields for a long time. The provision of regularly radio ...
20000715 July 15, 2000 4Past
The Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES) was launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) for a nominal three-year mission to investigate fields, plasmas, and energetic particles inside the Earth's magnetosphere.
19900725 July 25, 1990 4Past
Earth Dynamics Explorer
The Dynamics Explorer Plasma Wave Investigator mission's general objective was to investigate the strong interactive processes coupling the hot, tenuous, convecting plasmas of the magnetosphere and the cooler, denser plasmas and gases corotating in the earth's ionosphere, upper atmosphere, and ...
19810803 August 03, 1981 4Past
Earth ERBS
Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS), expected to have a two-year operation life, provided scientific data about the Earth's ozone layer for more than two decades. ERBS observations have also been used to determine how human activities such as the use ...
19841005 October 05, 1984 4Past
Earth ESSA
The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) Satellite Program provided cloud-cover photography to the American National Meteorological Center from 1966 – 1972.
19660203 February 03, 1966 4Past
Earth Geosat
The U.S. Navy GEOdetic SATellite, GEOSAT, was launched on 12 March 1985, into an 800-km, 108-deg inclination orbit, carried an altimeter that was capable of measuring the distance from satellite to sea surface with a relative precision of about 5 ...
19850312 March 12, 1985 4Past
Earth GOES A - C
The launch of the prototype Synchronous Meteorological Satellite, SMS-A, in May 1974 inaugurated the series of geosynchronous satellites that has provided systematic, continuous observations of weather patterns. A second prototype, SMS-B, followed in February 1975. The GOES program formally began ...
19751016 October 16, 1975 4Past
Earth GOES D - H
GOES-4 advanced meteorologists’ capabilities by continuously profiling vertical temperature and water vapor. This major advancement permitted, for the first time, the monitoring of frame-to-frame movement of water vapor concentrations, a technique introduced by the European Meteosat-1 satellite. These missions are ...
19800909 September 09, 1980 4Past
Earth GOES I - M
The GOES I-M satellites are the primary element of U.S. weather monitoring and forecast operations and are a key component of NOAA's National Weather Service operations and modernization program. These missions are part of the GOES / POES program.
19940413 April 13, 1994 4Past
Earth GRIP
The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment is a NASA Earth science field experiment in 2010 that will be conducted to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes. NASA plans to use the DC-8 aircraft, ...
20100815 August 15, 2010 4Past
Earth ICESat
ICESat (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite) was the benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics. This mission is part of SMD's Earth Systematic ...
20030112 January 12, 2003 4Past
Earth Jason-1
Jason was an oceanography mission to monitor global ocean circulation, improve global climate predictions, and monitor events such as El Nino conditions and ocean eddies. The Jason-1 satellite carried a radar altimeter, and it was a follow-on mission to the ...
20011207 December 07, 2001 4Past
Earth MOMS
The Modular Optoelectronic Multispectral Scanner (MOMS) is a scanning system (based on CCD technique) for airborne and predominantly spaceborne geoscientific remote sensing application.
19830618 June 18, 1983 4Past
Earth MOS
Marine Observation Satellite (MOS-1), Japan's first marine observation satellite, was launched in 1987 as a link in a global satellite observation system for more effective natural resource utilization and for environmental protection.
19870219 February 19, 1987 4Past
Earth Nimbus
The Nimbus series of missions was the United States’ primary research and development platform for satellite remote-sensing of the Earth. The satellites increased the scientific community’s knowledge of the Earth’s atmosphere, land surface and ecosystems, weather, and oceanography.
19640827 August 27, 1964 4Past
Earth OCO
OCO provided space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal human-initiated driver of climate change. This mission used mature technologies to address NASA's highest priority carbon cycle measurement requirement. OCO generated precise global maps of the abundance of CO2 ...
20090224 February 24, 2009 4Past
Canada's Radarsat is a radar satellite featuring variable resolution, and different view angles at a number of preset positions.
19951104 November 04, 1995 4Past
Earth SAGE III – Meteor-3M
The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III – Meteor-3M (SAGE III – Meteor-3M) was an Earth Observing System (EOS) - joint mission between the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Space Agency (RSA). The SAGE III ...
20011210 December 10, 2001 4Past
Earth Seasat 1
The Ocean Dynamics Satellite (Seasat 1) was designed to provide measurements of sea-surface winds, sea-surface temperatures, wave heights, internal waves, atmospheric liquid water content, sea ice features, ocean features, ocean topography, and the marine geoid.
19780627 June 27, 1978 4Past
Earth SeaWiFS
The SeaStar satellite carries the SeaWiFS instrument which is designed to monitor the color of the world's oceans. This mission is part of SMD's Earth Systematic Missions program.
19970801 August 01, 1997 4Past
Earth SIR-C
Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR), part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, was studying how our global environment is changing. From the unique vantage point of space, the radar system observed, monitored and assessed large-scale environmental processes with a focus on ...
19940419 April 19, 1994 4Past
Earth SMS
The Synchronous Meterological Satellites were the first operational spacecrafts to sense meteorological conditions from a fixed location. They carried instrumentation for visible and international remote imaging, collection of data from automated remote platforms, relay of weather products (WEFAX), and measurement ...
19740517 May 17, 1974 4Past
Earth SRTM
The goal of SRTM, a joint project of NASA, NIMA, and the German and Italian space agencies, was to map the world in three dimensions. In its 11-day mission on STS-99 in February 2000, SRTM collected an unprecedented 8.6 Terabytes ...
20000211 February 11, 2000 4Past
TERRIERS was a very small "University-class" Explorer intended to study a number of ionospheric and thermospheric phenomena, and test the utility of long term solar EUV (extreme ultraviolet) irradiance measurements.
19990518 May 18, 1999 4Past
TIROS spacecraft were the beginning of a long series of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. The objective was to establish a global weather satellite system.
19600401 April 01, 1960 4Past
The Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer, launched in July 1996 onboard an Earth Probe Satellite (TOMS/EP), continues NASA's long-term daily mapping of the global distribution of the Earth's atmospheric ozone. This NASA-developed instrument, measures ozone indirectly by mapping ultraviolet light emitted ...
19960702 July 02, 1996 4Past
Earth TOPEX/Poseidon
TOPEX/Poseidon monitored global ocean circulation, improved global climate predictions, and tracked El Niño conditions and ocean eddies. The mission's most important achievement was to determine the patterns of ocean circulation - how heat stored in the ocean moves from one ...
19920810 August 10, 1992 4Past
Earth TRMM
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan. TRMM is particularly devoted to determining rainfall in the tropics and subtropics of the Earth. These regions make up about two thirds of the ...
19971127 November 27, 1997 4Past
Earth UARS
Launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery on September 15, 1991, UARS orbited the Earth more than 78,000 times, using 10 onboard scientific instruments to collect data on a variety of chemicals, including carbon dioxide, ozone, chlorine, methane, nitrogen oxides and ...
19910912 September 12, 1991 4Past