J10.1 The CubeSat Infrared Atmospheric Sounder (CIRAS) Technology Demonstration in Support of a Future Earth Observing Nanosatellite-Infrared (EON-IR) Atmospheric Sounder

Monday, 8 January 2018: 10:30 AM
615 AB (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Thomas Pagano, JPL, Pasadena, CA

Hyperspectral infrared sounding of the atmosphere has become a vital element in the observational system for weather forecast prediction at National Weather Prediction (NWP) centers worldwide. The NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument was the pathfinder for the hyperspectral infrared observations and was designed to provide accurate atmospheric temperature and water vapor profile information in support of weather prediction. AIRS was launched in 2002 and continues to operate well. The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) on the Suomi NPP satellite has successfully continued the AIRS measurement, and was launched in 2011. CrIS also continues to operate well and additional sensors are planned for launch promising to continue the hyperspectral infrared measurements in support of NWP into the late 2030’s. The cost of AIRS and CrIS is substantial, and has created the need to explore lower cost alternatives for the post-JPSS era.

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.

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