BackForwardInstrument:  RainCube 

Instrument details
Acronym RainCube
Full name Radar In a CubeSat
Purpose Technology demonstration of a miniaturized rain radar suitable for implementing a constellation of small satellites to measure precipitation profiles
Short description Ka-band (35.75 GHz), 0.5-m deployable antenna. Sensitivity 13 dBZ
Background Released in orbit from the ISS
Scanning Technique Nadir-only
Resolution 7.9 km horizontal, 120 m vertical
Coverage / Cycle Along-track at 0.28-s rate, latitude limited by the ISS orbital inclination (51.6°)
Mass 5.5 kg Power 22 W Data Rate 50 kbps


Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Demonstration pending
Utilization Period: 2018 to 2020
Last update: 2021-06-15
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Active and radio-occultation sensor
  • Cloud and precipitation radar
WIGOS Subcomponents
  • Subcomponent 1
  • Precipitation radars and cloud radars
  • Precipitation radar and cloud radar
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Precipitation (liquid or solid)
  • Precipitation intensity at surface (liquid or solid)
Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
Note: * Primary mission objective.
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Precipitation (liquid or solid)*4 - fairAlong-track only.Ka-band radar (around 35 GHz). Mostly sensitive to light rain and snowfall
Precipitation intensity at surface (liquid or solid)*5 - marginalAlong-track only.Ka-band radar (around 35 GHz). Mostly sensitive to light rain and snowfall