New! Terra Spacecraft Quicktime VR Model. A VR model of the Terra spacecraft which you can manipulate to view all sides and angles (via Terra site).

  Terra QTVR Model

Terra was successfully launched on December 18, 1999, from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (4.6MB)

Terra Launch

Solar Panel Deployment
Terra's solar panel supplies the 3 kilowatts of power needed by the spacecraft. Its deployment is the first major event after Terra separates from its fairing. (3.3MB)

Terra Solar Panel Deployment

High Gain Antenna Deployment
Communication to and from Terra will be conducted through a high gain antenna and NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). This allows data to be collected independent of the satellite passing over ground stations. (1.6MB)

Terra High Gain Antenna Deployment

Terra's Orbit
Terra will operate in a near-circular, sun-synchronous orbit with an inclination of 98.2 degrees. The spacecraft will cross the equator twice each orbit—once at 10:30AM (local time) moving from north to south, and once at 10:30PM from south to north. (4.2MB)

Terra Orbit

Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)
ASTER will provide high-resolution images of land surface, water, ice, and clouds in visible, short-wave IR, and thermal IR wavelengths. (3MB)
·ASTER web site

ASTER Scanning Swath

Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES)
CERES will measure the Earth's energy balance—comparing the amount of energy from the sun that reaches the Earth's surface vs. the amount of heat energy emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere. (3.2MB)
·CERES web site

CERES Scanning Swath

Multi-angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer (MISR)
MISR will observe the Earth's surface from nine different angles simultaneously, providing 3D images and information about the angular properties of clouds and particulates. (3.9MB)
·MISR web site

MISR Scanning Swath

Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
MODIS will provide comprehensive measurements of ocean life (phytoplankton), land vegetation, cloud cover, and fires. (3.2MB)
·MODIS web site

MODIS Scanning Swath

Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT)
MOPITT will measure two important pollutants—carbon monoxide and methane—in the lower atmosphere (troposphere). (3.3MB)
·MOPITT web site (Canadian Space Agency)
·MOPITT web site (University of Toronto)

MOPITT Scanning Swath

Combined Swaths of Terra's Instruments
Terra will conduct many of its observations simultaneuosly, allowing for new ways of integrating different types of data. (3.3MB)

Terra Instrument Scanning Swaths
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