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The increasing need for high data return from near-Earth and deep-space missions is driving a demand for the establishment of Earthspace optical communication links. These links will require a nearly obstruction-free path to the communication platform, so there is a need to measure spatial and temporal statistics of clouds at potential ground-station sites. A technique is described that uses a ground-based thermal infrared imager to provide continuous day-night cloud detection anddoi:10.1364/oe.17.007862 pmid:19434118 fatcat:vsnblsbi6fh23ei5utu5w7qb2u