JPL NASA is offering an alternate hyperspectral IR sounder architecture for the future involving CubeSats under the Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) In-flight Validation of Earth Science Technologies (InVEST) program. The latest technology in large format focal plane assemblies, wide field optics and active cryocoolers enables a reduction in size, mass and cost of the legacy sounders and offer new orbit configurations. The CubeSat Infrared Atmospheric Sounder (CIRAS) employs an MWIR spectrometer operating from 4.08-5.13 µm with 625 channels and spectral resolution of 1.2-2.0 cm-1 to achieve lower tropospheric temperature and water vapor profiles. The CIRAS is packaged in a 6U CubeSat and uses less than 14 W. CIRAS is under development at NASA JPL and scheduled for launch in 2019. This presentation will discuss the CIRAS measurement approach, development status and the plan to demonstrate, in-orbit, higher spatial resolution IR sounding to support new science involving regional weather prediction, applications and weather process studies.
CIRAS technology can be applied to a future Earth Observing Nanosatellite (EON)-Infrared, to address a loss or gap in coverage of CrIS on orbit. While CIRAS MWIR has good sensitivity of both temperature and water vapor in the low to mid troposphere, Longwavelength Infrared (LWIR) sounding provides better temperature sounding accuracy and is currently the band most used by NWP centers. We will also present concepts and technologies under development at JPL to address the LWIR sounding in a 12U CubeSat.