About Terra

The Terra satellite being prepared for launchApproximately the size of a small school bus, the Terra satellite carries five instruments that take coincident measurements of the Earth system:

Terra is in a circular sun-synchronous polar orbit that takes it from north to south (on the daylight side of the Earth) every 99 minutes.

Spacecraft Quick Facts:

Launch Date: December 18,1999
Size: the spacecraft bus is 6.8 m long and 3.5 m across.
Weight: 5,190 kg (11,442 lbs.) at launch

The Terra satellite in pre-launch testing

Orbit Quick Facts:

Altitude: 705 kilometers (438 miles) above Earth's surface
Inclination: 98.5 degrees
Period: 99 minutes (16 orbits per day)
Equatorial crossing: 10:30 a.m., descending node


Terra Status

Operating instruments: ASTER, CERES, MODIS, MISR, and MOPITT are operating well.  ASTER Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) data is unavailable.

Current life expectancy: Terra  has far exceeded its design life and has a strong chance of operating successfully into the early 2020s.

Current systems issues: None.

Processed Terra data are available through several NASA data centers.

Greater detail on the status of the Aqua spacecraft, instruments, and other aspects of the mission are presented in a PDF Terra Status File