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VCL (Vegetation Canopy Lidar) was a mission in NASA's ESSP program to provide the first global inventory of the vertical structure of forests across Earth using a multibeam laser-ranging device. The mission was to enable direct measurement of tree heights, forest canopy structure, and derived parameters such as global biomass with at least ten times better accuracy than existing assessments.

VCL has been delayed and finally cancelled due to problems with the science payload. The completed bus was reused for the GLORY satellite. The Athena-1 launch vehicle was used to launch the "Kodiak Star" (Starshine 3, PICOSat, PCSat 1, SAPPHIRE) mission.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Earth Observation, Lidar
Operator: NASA
Contractors: Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
Equipment: MBLA (Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter)
Configuration: LEOStar
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 420 kg (250 kg dry)
Orbit: 400 km, 67
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
VCL (ESSP 1) - cancelled Kd LP-1 Athena-1 Glory

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