Terra explores the connections between Earth's atmosphere, land, snow and ice, ocean, and energy balance to understand Earth's climate and climate change and to map the impact of human activity and natural disasters on communities and ecosystems. It was launched on 18 December 1999 and has far exceeded its design life, having a strong chance of operating successfullty into the early 2020s.
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.

On October 6, 2018 Terra completed 100,000 orbits around Earth.

Approximately the size of a small school bus, the Terra satellite carries five instruments that take coincident measurements of the Earth system.

Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)
Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES)
Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR)
Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT)
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)


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Sun synchronous

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Earth observation system studying the interactions among the Earth’s atmosphere, lands, oceans, and radiant energy

Public Private Partnership: 

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