Jumbo Content

PACE orbit with swaths

[16-Nov-22] This visualization shows the planned orbit of NASA's PACE mission (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem). The visualization is organized into three sections.
  • In the first section, PACE's orbit is shown from a global view. PACE will be in a 98-degree-inclination, sun-synchronous polar orbit with an equatorial crossing time of 1:00 pm local time. PACE's orbital period (i.e., the time it takes to complete one orbit) is 98.3 minutes at an altitude of 676.5 km.
  • In second section, the camera zooms in to look at the fields of view of each of PACE's instruments:
    • The Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) viewing width is 113 degrees. During each orbit on the sunlit side of the Earth, OCI will change its pointing from 20 degrees behind the spacecraft (aft) when south of the Sun's latitude to 20 degrees ahead of the spacecraft (fore) when north. This is to avoid having the instrument's field of view look into Sun glint. OCI will change its pointing back from fore to aft on the dark side of each orbit.
    • The Hyper Angular Research Polarimeter (HARP2) instrument has a viewing width of 94 degrees. HARP2 has 10 viewing angles along the orbit track for its blue, green, and near-infrared wavelength channels and 60 viewing angles for its red wavelength channel. These viewing angles vary along the direction of travel over a range of 114 degrees. The ground swath as viewed on Earth will vary in width with viewing angle.
    • The Spectro-polarimeter for Planetary Exploration (SPEXone) instrument's ground swath is about 100 km wide. SPEXone has 5 different viewing angles from -50 degrees (aft) to +50 degrees (fore). Like HARP2, the ground swath as viewed on Earth will vary in width with viewing angle.
  • The third section shows example ground swaths for each instrument. SPEXone has a relatively narrow swath. HARP2 has a wider swath for its nadir (straight down) view. OCI has an even wider swath. At the end all 3 instruments swaths are shown at the same time.

More details about PACE instruments can be found on the Mission Overview.