A-train 2013

A-train
constellation
satellites


This page contains philatelic information on the A-train constellation satellites. Catalog numbers, years of issue, and notes on the satellites featured are given when available. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.

There have been as many as 7 different satellites in the A-train constellation, but a maximum of only 6 at one time: EOS-Aqua, EOS-Aura1, CloudSat, CALIPSO, PARASOL, OCO-2, and GCOM-W. An 8th satellite, Glory, failed upon launch in 2011 and was therefore never part of the A-train. PARASOL, CloudSat, and CALIPSO, are no longer part of the A-train, leaving the satellite count at four.

With satellites being launched and moving into the A-train and other satellites moving out of the A-train, a summary of those satellite events is provided. Below is a simplified list of satellite events and a count of the number of satellites in the A-train over time:

DateEventNumber of satellites in the
A-train constellation
2002-05-04EOS-Aqua launch1
2004-07-15EOS-Aura launch2
2004-12-18PARASOL launch3
2006-04-28CloudSat and CALIPSO launch5
2009-02-24OCO-1 launch failure5
2009-12-02PARASOL moved to lower orbit4
2011-03-04Glory launch failure4
2012-05-17GCOM-W launch5
2014-07-02OCO-2 launch6
2018-02-22CloudSat moved to C-train5
2018-09-18CALIPSO moved to C-train4

CloudSat is also known as ESSP-4, one of the NASA ESSP-series satellites.
CALIPSO is also known as ESSP-3, one of the NASA ESSP-series satellites.
OCO [failed] or its replacement OCO-2 is also known as ESSP-5, one of the NASA ESSP-series satellites.

Launch information
(found elsewhere)
Launch covers
(including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers)
(farther below)
Other postal items
(stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.)
(immediately below)
EOS-series EOS-series EOS-series
EOS (on other than EOS launch covers)
PARASOL
(France)
PARASOL
(France)
PARASOL
(France)
CloudSat CloudSat CloudSat
CALIPSO
(France)
CALIPSO
(France)
CALIPSO
(France)
OCO OCO OCO
Glory Glory Glory
GCOM-W / Shizuku
(Japan)
GCOM-W / Shizuku
(Japan)
GCOM-W / Shizuku
(Japan)


Below is a list of A-train constellation postal items (stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.).

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua and Aura1 (and Terra)2
Guinea RepublicBL899A
BL899B
In (upper-left) margin of MS2 (Mi4186A-4187A)
In (upper-left) margin of imperforate MS2 (Mi4186B-4187B)
2005EOS-"Terra"2
Guinea RepublicBL899B fdcImperforate MS2 on FDC
Guinea RepublicMi5866A-5871A_ms6
Mi5866B-5871B_ms6
In (upper-right) margin of MS6 (Mi5866A-5871A)
In (upper-right) margin of imperforate MS6 (Mi5866B-5871B)
2008EOS-"Aura"1
Iceland1152 (BL45)In (upper-right) margin of SS12008EOS-"Terra"2
Iceland1152 fdcSS1 and (pictorial) cancel and (Iceland Post) cachet on FDC
Madagascar (Malagasy Republic)1047b (BL178A)
i1047b (BL178B)
In (lower-left) margin of SS1 (1047)
In (lower-left) margin of imperforate SS1 (i1047)
1992(early-design) EOS-Terra2
MadagascarUnknown a (Mi?)Two stamps and in (lower) margin of MS4 (a-d) [known illegal issue]2019"Aqua"
MadagascarUnknown b (Mi?)"Aura"1
MadagascarUnknown ms fdcMS4 and (multi-color printed) cachet on FDC(As above for stamps); also (poorly-drawn) Aqua (in the cachet of the MS4 fdc)
MadagascarUnknown a-d fdcTwo of five stamps on FDC
Maldive Islands2895c (Mi4542)From MS4 (2895 (a-d)) (Mi4540-4543)
From imperforate MS4 (i2895 (a-d))
2006EOS-"Aqua"
Maldive Islands2895d (Mi4543)EOS-"Aura"1
Sierra Leone2871d (Mi4976)One of MS4 (2871 (a-d)) (Mi4973-4976)
One of imperforate MS4 (i2871 (a-d))
2006EOS-"Aqua" and EOS-"Aura"1 (depicted in A-train)
Tanzania2444 (BL592)SS12007EOS-Aqua, EOS-Aura1 (depicted in A-train)
United StatesNone(Pictorial) cancel on cover2008EOS-"Aura"1
Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Science coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL) (France)
Sierra Leone2871d (Mi4976)One of MS4 (2871 (a-d)) (Mi4973-4976)
One of imperforate MS4 (i2871 (a-d))
2006"PARASOL" (depicted in A-train)
Tanzania2444 (BL592)SS12007PARASOL (depicted in A-train)
CLOUD SATellite (CloudSat)
Antigua and Barbuda2926 (BL633)In (upper-left) margin of SS12006"CloudSat"
Guyana3931 (BL804)
i3931
In (upper-right) margin of SS1
In (upper-right) margin of imperforate SS1
2006"CloudSat"
Maldive Islands2895b (Mi4541)One of MS4 (2895 (a-d)) (Mi4540-4543)
One of imperforate MS4 (i2895 (a-d))
2006"CloudSat"
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown d (Mi?)
Unknown id
One of MS4 (a-d)
One of imperforate MS4 (a-d)
2005CloudSat
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown ms fdc
Unknown ims fdc
MS4 and (multi-color printed) cachet on FDC
Imperforate MS4 and (multi-color printed) cachet on FDC
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown ms (Mi?)
Unknown ims
In (upper-left) margin of MS9 (a-i)
In (upper-left) margin of imperforate MS9 (a-i)
2006CloudSat
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown ms fdc
Unknown ims fdc
MS9 on FDC
Imperforate MS9 on FDC
Sierra Leone2871a (Mi4973)On three stamps and in (upper-left) margin of MS4 (2871 (a-d)) (Mi4973-4976)
On three stamps and in (upper-left) margin of imperforate MS4 (i2871 (a-d))
2006CloudSat launch
Sierra Leone2871c (Mi4975)(early-design) "CloudSat"
Sierra Leone2871d (Mi4596)"CloudSat" (depicted in A-train)
Tanzania2444 (BL592)SS12007"CloudSat" (depicted in A-train)
Tuvalu1013 (BL133)In (upper-left) margin of SS12006"CloudSat" (and partial depiction)
Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) (France)
Antigua and Barbuda2926 (BL633)SS12006"CALIPSO"
Congo RepublicUnknown ss (BL?)SS1 [known illegal issue]2017"CALIPSO"
Congo RepublicUnknown ss (BL?)SS1 (different) [known illegal issue]
Congo RepublicUnknown ms (Mi?)MS2 (a-b + 2 labels) [known illegal issue]
DjiboutiUnknown ms (Mi?)On one stamp and one label and in (left) margin of MS2 (a-b + 2 labels)2014CALIPSO (but "Galileo" in text)
DjiboutiUnknown fdcMS2 on FDC
DjiboutiUnknown iss (BL?)Imperforate SS1
France3500c (Mi4471)One of MS4 (3500 (a-d)) (BL95)2008CALIPSO (large satellite, but 8 small Galileo constellation satellites)
France3500 card3500 card (with reproduction of 3500c)
Guyana3931 (BL804)
i3931
SS1
Imperforate SS1
2006"CALIPSO"
MadagascarUnknown c (Mi?)One stamp and in (lower) margin of MS4 (a-d) [known illegal issue]2019"CALIPSO"
MadagascarUnknown ms fdcMS4 and (small printed) cachet on FDC
MadagascarUnknown a-d fdcOne of five stamps on FDC
MadagascarUnknown ss fdc(Two printed) cachets on FDC
Maldive Islands2895a (Mi4540)One of MS4 (2895 (a-d)) (Mi4540-4543)
One of imperforate MS4 (i2895 (a-d))
2006"CALIPSO"
St. Thomas and Prince IslandsUnknown ms fdc
Unknown ims fdc
(Multi-color printed) cachet on FDC
(Multi-color printed) cachet on imperforate-stamped FDC
2006CALIPSO
Sierra Leone2871a (Mi4973)On three stamps and in (upper-right) margin of MS4 (2871 (a-d)) (Mi4973-4976)
On three stamps and in (upper-right) margin of imperforate MS4 (i2871 (a-d))
2006CALIPSO launch
Sierra Leone2871b (Mi4974)"CALIPSO"
Sierra Leone2871d (Mi4976)"CALIPSO" (depicted in A-train)
Tanzania2444 (BL592)SS12007"CALIPSO" (depicted in A-train)
Togo2035f (Mi3321)
i2035f
One of MS6 (2035 (a-f)) (Mi3316-3321)
One of imperforate MS6 (i2035 (a-f))
2006"CALIPSO"
Tuvalu1013 (BL133)On stamp and in (right) margin of SS12006"CALIPSO"
Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
MozambiqueBL976In (upper-center) margin of SS12014"Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2" (OCO-2)
Sierra Leone2871d (Mi4976)One of MS4 (2871 (a-d)) (Mi4973-4976)
One of imperforate MS4 (i2871 (a-d))
2006"OCO"-1 (depicted in A-train)
Glory [failed]
No (non-launch cover) postal items found
GCOM-W / Shizuku (Japan)
No (non-launch cover) postal items found

1The USA EOS-Aura from 2004 should not be confused with the French D-series satellite (D-2B / Aura) from 1975, which goes by the same name.
2EOS-Terra is the "morning" complement to the "afternoon" EOS-Aqua, therefore it is not part of the A-train satellite constellation.


Below is a list of A-train constellation launch covers (including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers).

CountryCancel DateCancel LocationType of ItemNotes on Content
Earth Observing System (EOS)
1999-12-18: EOS-Terra2
United States1999-12-18Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(Multi-color printed) cachet on coverEOS-Terra launch2
United States1999-12-18Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(Multi-color printed) cachet (different) on coverEOS-Terra launch2
United States1999-12-18Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverEOS-Terra launch2
United States1999-12-18Pasadena CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverEOS-Terra launch2
2002-05-04: EOS-Aqua
United States2002-05-04Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverEOS-Aqua launch
United States2002-05-04Pasadena CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverEOS-Aqua launch
EOS-Aqua (events)
United States2018-10-26GSFC, Greenbelt MD(Red Eagle) cachet on cover"Aqua satellite tracks super Typhoon Yutu"
2004-07-15: EOS-Aura1
United States2004-07-15Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(Multi-color printed) cachet on coverEOS-Aura launch
United States2004-07-15Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(Multi-color printed) cachet (different) on coverEOS-Aura launch
United States2004-07-15Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(SCP mission-patch sticker) cachet on coverEOS-Aura launch
United States2004-07-15Pasadena CA(JPL rubber-stamp) cachet on coverEOS-Aura launch
United States2004-07-15Pasadena CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverEOS-Aura launch
EOS (on other than EOS launch covers)
French Guiana2011-08-06Kourou(Association Philatélique du C.E. SPS) cachet on BSat-3C and Astra-1N launch coverImage of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico taken by "Satellite [EOS] Aqua"
French Guiana2011-09-21Kourou(Association Philatélique du C.E. SPS) cachet on Arabsat-5C and SES-2 launch cover, also back"satellite [EOS] Terra"
French Guiana2012-05-15Kourou(Association Philatélique du C.E. SPS) cachet on JCSat-13 and Vinasat-2 launch cover"Éruption de l'Etna, 2002, satellite (EOS) Terra"
2004-12-18: Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Science coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL) (and Helios-2A and Essaim-1/4 and Nanosat-01)
French Guiana2004-12-18?Kourou(Association Philatélique du C.E. SPS) cachet on coverPARASOL launch
French Guiana2004-12-18Kourou(Conseil de l'Europe) cachet on coverPARASOL launch
French Guiana2004-12-18Kourou(Lollini) cachet on coverPARASOL launch
French Southern and Antarctic Territories2004-12-18Port aux Français, Îles Kerguelen(Multi-color printed) cachet on coverPARASOL launch
French Southern and Antarctic Territories2004-12-18Port aux Français, Îles Kerguelen(Multi-color printed) cachet (different) on coverPARASOL launch
2006-04-28: CLOUD SATellite (CloudSat) (and CALIPSO)
United States2006-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(Multi-color printed) cachet on coverCloudSat (and CALIPSO) launch
United States2006-04-28Pasadena CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverCloudSat (and CALIPSO) launch
United States2006-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverCloudSat (and CALIPSO) launch
United States2006-04-28Pasadena CA(JPL rubber-stamp) cachet on coverCloudSat (and CALIPSO) launch
2006-04-28: Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) (and CloudSat)
United States2006-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(Multi-color printed) cachet on coverCALIPSO (and CloudSat) launch
United States2006-04-28Pasadena CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverCALIPSO (and CloudSat) launch
United States2006-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverCALIPSO (and CloudSat) launch
United States2006-04-28Pasadena CA(JPL rubber-stamp) cachet on coverCALIPSO (and CloudSat) launch
Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
2009-02-24: OCO-1 [failed]
United States2009-02-24Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(Mission 57) cachet on cover, also backOCO-1 launch [failed]
United States2009-02-24Pasadena CA(JPL Stamp Club) cachet on coverOCO-1 launch [failed]
2014-07-02: OCO-2
United States2014-07-02Vandenberg AFB, CA(Lollini) cachet on coverOCO-2 launch
United States2014-07-02Vandenberg AFB, CA(Multi-color printed) cachet on coverOCO-2 launch
2019-05-04: OCO-33 [launched with Dragon-CRS-17, attached to ISS] (and others)
United States2019-05-04Hawthorne CA(Red Eagle) cachet on coverOCO-3 launch (with Dragon-CRS-17)
United States2019-05-04Kennedy Space Center FL(Red Eagle) cachet on coverOCO-3 launch (with Dragon-CRS-17)
United States2019-05-06Kennedy Space Center FL(Red Eagle) cachet on coverOCO-3 docking with ISS (with Dragon-CRS-17)
2011-03-04: Glory (and Hermes and KySat-1 and E1P) [failed]
United States2011-03-04Vandenberg AFB, CA(Lollini) cachet on coverGlory launch [failed]
United States2011-03-04Vandenberg AFB, CA(Mission 57) cachet on cover, also backGlory launch [failed]; "The A-train currently includes Aqua, Aura, CALIPSO and Cloudsat" (on cover back)
United States2011-03-04Vandenberg AFB, CA(Mission 57) cachet (different) on cover, also backGlory launch (but Hermes and KySat-1 and E1P depicted) [failed]
United States2011-03-04Vandenberg Contract Station, Lompoc CA(RES&C) cachet on coverGlory launch [failed]
2012-05-17: GCOM-W / Shizuku (and Kompsat-3 and SDS-3 and Horyu-2)
No launch cover images available yet

1The USA EOS-Aura from 2004 should not be confused with the French D-series satellite (D-2B / Aura) from 1975, which goes by the same name.
2EOS-Terra is the "morning" complement to the "afternoon" EOS-Aqua, but it is not part of the A-train satellite constellation.
3OCO-3 is not part of the A-train satellite constellation; it is mounted on the ISS which has an orbit that is different than the A-train.


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