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Our Mission

This site documents activities of the GEO-CAPE Mission Study Team from 2009 through 2018. The Science Working Groups (SWGs) endorsed the concept of phased implementation using commercial satellites to reduce mission risk and cost. Multiple instruments were considered. The study was completed in September 2018 as NASA transitioned to implementation of the second Earth Science Decadal Survey. The GEO-CAPE final report describes the many team accomplishments as a substantial update to the interim 2009-2015 report. The final report includes a concise executive summary, recommendations, and closing thoughts.

The GEOstationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) mission was recommended by the NRC’s 2007 Earth Science Decadal Survey to measure tropospheric trace gases and aerosols and coastal ocean phytoplankton, water quality and biogeochemistry from geostationary orbit, providing multiple daily observations within the field of view. Multiple observations per day are required to explore the physical, chemical, and dynamical processes that determine tropospheric composition and air quality over spatial scales ranging from urban to continental, and over temporal scales ranging from diurnal to seasonal. Likewise, high frequency satellite observations are critical to studying and quantifying biological, chemical, and physical processes within the coastal ocean and beyond.

These observations were to be achieved from a vantage point near 95°-100°W, to potentially view North and South America as well as the adjacent oceans. GEO-CAPE would join the global constellation of geostationary atmospheric chemistry and coastal ocean color sensors planned to be in orbit in the 2020 time frame.

The GEO-CAPE studies helped enable pathfinder satellite missions for its atmospheric composition and coastal waters disciplines. The commercial hosted payload strategy allowed separation of the mission into smaller pieces suitable for proposals to NASA’s Earth Venture class of missions. Many highly rated proposals related to GEO-CAPE science were submitted to Earth Venture solicitations and three geostationary missions with GEO-CAPE heritage have been selected. As of December 2020, the TEMPO instrument is complete and awaiting a 2022 launch, the GeoCARB instrument has passed KDP-C and is planned for a 2022-2023 launch, and the GLIMR instrument is proceeding through pre-formulation and planned for launch in the second half of the decade. Together, these three missions are a legacy of GEO-CAPE Mission Study Team efforts.

+ Download the 2009-2015 Summary Report of GEO-CAPE Mission Studies [PDF]
+ Download the 2018 Final Report of GEO-CAPE Mission Studies [PDF]
+ Download the 2012 BAMS GEO-CAPE Feature Article; Volume 93, Issue 10, pp. 1547-1566. [PDF]