Earth Observing Fleet

  • Released Tuesday, March 17, 2015
  • Updated Monday, December 9, 2019 at 3:46PM
  • ID: 30496

Like orbiting sentinels, NASA’s Earth-observing satellites vigilantly monitor our planet’s ever-changing pulse from their unique vantage points in orbit. This animation shows the orbits of all of the current satellite missions. The flight paths are based on actual orbital elements. These missions—many joint with other nations and/or agencies—are able to collect global measurements of rainfall, solar irradiance, clouds, sea surface height, ocean salinity, and other aspects of the environment. Together, these measurements help scientists better diagnose the “health” of the Earth system.

This animation will be regularly updated to show the orbits of the current earth observing fleet.

This most recent version, published in March 2017, includes the CYGNSS constellation and DSCOVR at L1. Visit the original page here.

Previous versions from recent years include:

entry 4274 a February 2015 version including SMAP

entry 3996 a spring 2014 version including GPM

entry 4070 a May 2013 version which added Landsat-8

entry 3892 a Dec 2011 version which added Suomi NPP and Aquarius

entry 3725 a version from June 2010


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Datasets used in this visualization

Terra and Aqua BMNG (A.K.A. Blue Marble: Next Generation) (Collected with the MODIS sensor)

Credit: The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).

Dataset can be found at:

See more visualizations using this data set
CelesTrak Spacecraft Orbit Ephemeris
GEOS-5 Cubed-Sphere (A.K.A. GEOS-5 Atmospheric Model on the Cubed-Sphere)

The model is the GEOS-5 atmospheric model on the cubed-sphere, run at 14-km global resolution for 30-days. GEOS-5 is described here and the cubed-sphere work is described here

See more visualizations using this data set

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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