After nearly 2 1/2 years in orbit, a shoebox-size weather satellite phoned home one last time before plunging into Earth’s atmosphere and burning up on Dec. 24, 2020. RainCube (Radar in a CubeSat) was a technology demonstration meant to show that shrinking a weather radar into a low-cost, miniature satellite called a CubeSat could provide science-quality data.
The lessons learned from this mission, and other CubeSat missions such as TEMPEST-D, will help develop future missions with applications for monitoring severe weather and aiding response and recovery efforts for disasters like floods and hurricanes.
RainCube was deployed on July 13, 2018, from the International Space Station and had a primary mission of three months. The CubeSat’s instrument “saw” rain and other kinds of precipitation by bouncing radar signals off of raindrops, ice, and snowflakes, and measuring the strength and the time it took for the signals to return to the satellite. It provided scientists with pictures of what was happening inside of storms around the world.
Read the full article at jpl.nasa.gov: A Pioneering NASA Mini Weather Satellite Ends Its Mission