On March 18, 2021, Aqua completed all mission maneuvers related to maintaining a 1:30 mean local time (MLT) equator crossing and 705 km orbit altitude. In July 2021, Aqua began drifting to a later MLT. In January 2022, Aqua will begin its constellation exit by stopping all maneuvers except collision avoidance maneuvers and will reach and exceed a 1:45 AM MLT crossing in February 2023. MLT will continue to drift after this, reaching 3:50 PM around August 2026. Aqua MODIS will remain operational and generate the full suite of products through August 2026.
Later crossing times for an afternoon platform like Aqua mean lower solar elevations leading to more prevalent shadows. This decrease in orbit altitude alters the spatial coverage of the sensor including possible gaps in spatial sampling, decreased spatial coverage, and higher spatial resolution. Products are mostly expected to be science quality except for reduced grid size (from lower altitude) and without a strict 16-day repeat of observations (from drift and changing orbit).
Details on the impact of the Constellation Exit on the quality of the product are being compiled and will be posted when available.
Have questions? Contact LP DAAC User Services.