Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 9:00 AM
An 8-40 GHz Wideband Instrument for Snow Measurements
La Nouvelle A (New Orleans Convention Center )
This Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) is building and testing a wideband instrument (8-40 GHz) in support of the Tier III Snow and Cold Land Processes (SCLP) mission as defined by the Decadal Survey. Harris Corporation is teaming with engineers from NASA centers Goddard/Glenn, Nuvotronics, and scientists from multiple Universities for this effort. Multiple instruments will be required to achieve the baseline SCLP mission goals using conventional technology. The capability to perform multiple NASA missions in a single instrument will be achieved by combining a wideband aperture with a software reconfigurable payload capable of performing multiple functions. The broad bandwidth of this instrument allows flexibility in the number of frequencies used to measure Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), a primary goal of SCLP. Potential improvements in the estimation of SWE and its spatial/temporal variability have significant implications for hydrologic modeling and water resources management on a global scale. The wideband approach can also mitigate RFI by selecting non-interfering channels. The innovative manufacturing method for the wideband antenna will reduce the size and weight of the payload, add additional functionality, and allow cost/power to remain relatively unchanged. The entry technology for the 8-40 GHz feed is currently at TRL 3 for this application. The basis for this technological development is the Current Sheet Antenna (CSA), a low-profile, wideband, coupled dipole array. We plan to bring the wideband feed/reconfigurable radar/radiometry payload, to an exit TRL of 6 for airborne applications. We will demonstrate the wideband feed and payload in both ground and airborne demonstrations during the program. The first year demonstrates the compatibility of an existing wideband feed (2-18 GHz) with multiple existing radars to measure SWE of documented snow. In the second year, a wideband (8-40 GHz) passive array will be fabricated and integrated with a reconfigurable payload (SAR/radiometer). During the third year, flight tests on the NASA P3 and data reduction with new algorithms will demonstrate the science benefits of a wideband feed combined with a multiband reconfigurable payload.