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ACRIMSat spacecraft model.png
Mission typeSolar astronomy
OperatorNASA / JPL
SATCAT no.26033
Mission durationPlanned: 5 years;
Achieved: 13 years, 11 months and 23 days [1]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerOrbital Sciences
Launch mass120 kilograms (260 lb)[1]
Power80.0 watts
Start of mission
Launch date21 December 1999, 07:13 (1999-12-21UTC07:13Z) UTC
RocketTaurus 2110
Launch siteVandenberg LC-576E
ContractorOrbital Sciences
End of mission
Last contact14 December 2013
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Semi-major axis7,067.28 km (4,391.40 mi)
Perigee altitude675 km (419 mi)
Apogee altitude717 km (446 mi)
Inclination97.80 degrees
Period98.54 minutes
Epoch5 December 2013, 12:18:57 UTC[2]

The Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite, or ACRIMSAT is a defunct satellite carrying the ACRIM-3 (Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor 3) instrument. It was one of the 21 observational components of NASA's Earth Observing System program. The instrument followed upon the ACRIM1 and ACRIM2 instruments that were launched on multi-instrument satellite platforms. ACRIMSAT was launched on 20 December 1999 from Vandenberg Air Force Base as the secondary payload on the Taurus rocket that launched KOMPSAT. It was placed into a high inclination, 700 km. sun-synchronous orbit from which the ACRIM3 instrument monitored total solar irradiance (TSI).[3] Contact with the satellite was lost on 14 December 2013.[4]


ACRIM3 made measurements of the TSI since the start of its mission in April 2000. It extended the TSI measurement database begun by earlier ACRIM instruments on the NASA Solar Maximum Mission (ACRIM1: 1980-1989) and Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (ACRIM2: 1991-2001).[5]

ACRIMSAT/ACRIM3 tracked TSI during a 2004 transit of Venus and measured the 0.1% reduction in the solar intensity caused by the planet's shadow.[6] It also recorded data for the 2012 Transit of Venus.[7]

On 14 December 2013, ACRIMSAT went silent, with attempts to reestablish contact proving unsuccessful. The most likely cause has been attributed to the failure of aging batteries. The mission was determined to be unrecoverable and officially terminated 30 July 2014.[1]

The defunct spacecraft will remain in orbit for approximately 64 years before returning to Earth.[4]


Richard C. Willson was the principal investigator and led the science team.[8] Willson designed the active cavity radiometer type of sensor used by self-calibrating satellite TSI monitoring experiments. The ACRIM3 instrument was a collaboration between Willson, original JPL/ACRIMSAT Project Manager Ronald Zenone and ACRIM3 Instrument Scientist Roger Helizon. The Mission was controlled using the ACRIMSAT tracking station at the Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) Table Mountain Observatory in Southern California. Co-Investigators were: Nicola Scafetta (climate impact of solar variability), Hugh Hudson (solar physics) and Alexander Mordvinov (solar physics).


ACRIMSAT was a spin-stabilized, single-purpose satellite constructed by Orbital Sciences Corporation. Its total cost, including the instrument, launch, ground station, operations, and science team activities during its 14-year mission was less than $50 million.


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ "ACRIMSAT Satellite details 1999-070B NORAD 26033". N2YO. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ "Composite TSI Time Series". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Sun sets for a NASA solar monitoring spacecraft." Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved: 9 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite (ACRIMSAT)." NASA's Earth Observing System. Retrieved: 12 March 2018.
  6. ^ Schneider, G.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Willson, Richard C. (2006). "The Effect of the Transit of Venus on ACRIM's Total Solar Irradiance Measurements: Implications for Transit Studies of Extrasolar Planets". The Astrophysical Journal. 641 (641): 565-571. arXiv:astro-ph/0512251. Bibcode:2006ApJ...641..565S. doi:10.1086/500427. S2CID 7100975.
  7. ^ "Catalog Page for PIA15820".
  8. ^ "ACRIM Staff Information". Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 2015.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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