MiRaTA is an atmospheric sensing CubeSat that measures temperature, water vapor, and cloud ice in the atmosphere for severe weather monitoring and the study of cyclone structure. It launched with the JPSS-1 (now NOAA-20) mission in November 2017. MiRaTA will flight test a new ultra-compact, low power radiometer as well as a new GPS radio occultation (GPS RO) receiver and patch antenna array. The two instruments will work together to demonstrate, for the first time, radiometer calibration methods using co-located GPS RO measurements. This technology will enable low-cost weather imaging constellations with significantly improved temporal resolution spatial coverage that can dramatically enhance the capabilities of future weather and climate sensing architectures. The MiRaTA team includes MIT, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, The Aerospace Corporation, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Space Dynamics Laboratory.
NOAA-20 Views Ice Accrual from Freezing Rain in Massachusetts
In January 2019, NOAA-20’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument captured images of significant ice accrual across the northeastern U.S., including parts of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Since snow and ice are effective absorbers of radiation at the 1.61 wavelength – with ice absorbing even more strongly – those features appear as darker shades of grey in the NOAA-20 snow/ice imagery. JPSS instruments provide invaluable data for understanding storms and making forecasts up to five to seven days in advance of a severe weather event.