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INCUS (Investigation of Convective Updrafts) is a NASA Earth science mission led by Colorado State University that will investigate the behavior of tropical storms in order to better represent these storms in weather and climate models. The mission will consist of three small satellites flying in close formation.

INCUS is a cluster of three SmallSats, each with a RainCube-like Ka-band radar and a TEMPEST-D-like radiometer with cross-track scanning capabilities. The first estimates of convective mass flux across the tropics will be provided by a novel time-difference approach between three satellites flown in close succession (30, 90, and 120 seconds apart).

The primary objectives of the INCUS mission are to determine:

  • The primary environmental factors influencing convective mass flux in tropical convective storms
  • The interaction of convective mass flux and high anvil clouds
  • The relationship between convective mass flux and the severity and type of extreme weather produced
  • The numerical models that predict weather and climate will then be evaluated using the relationships between convective mass flux and environmental factors, high anvil clouds, and extreme weather.

It is scheduled to launch as part of NASA's Earth Venture Program in 2027.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Earth Science
Operator: Colorado State University, NASA
Contractors: Colorado State University
Power: Deployable solar arrays, batteries
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
INCUS A (ESSP EVM3 A) - 2027 with INCUS B, C, ?
INCUS B (ESSP EVM3 B) - 2027 with INCUS A, C, ?
INCUS C (ESSP EVM3 C) - 2027 with INCUS A, B, ?


  • Colorado State University: INCUS

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