J5.1 MISTiC Winds, a Micro-Satellite Constellation Approach to High-Resolution Observations of the Atmosphere Using Infrared Sounding and 3D Winds Measurements

Monday, 8 January 2018: 8:45 AM
615 AB (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
K. R. Maschhoff, BAE Systems, Nashua, NH

MISTiCTM Winds is an approach to improve short-term weather forecasting based on a miniature high resolution, wide field, thermal emission spectrometry instrument that will provide global tropospheric vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and humidity at high (3-4 km) horizontal and vertical ( 1 km) spatial resolution. MISTiC’s extraordinarily small size, payload mass of less than 15 kg, and minimal cooling requirements can be accommodated aboard a ESPA-Class (50 kg) micro-satellite. Low fabrication and launch costs enable a LEO sun-synchronous sounding constellation that would provide frequent IR vertical profiles and vertically resolved atmospheric motion vector wind observations in the troposphere. These observations are highly complementary to present and emerging environmental observing systems, and would provide a combination of high vertical and horizontal resolution not provided by any other environmental observing system currently in operation. The spectral measurements that would be provided by MISTiC Winds are similar to those of NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder. These new observations, when assimilated into high resolution numerical weather models, would revolutionize short-term and severe weather forecasting, save lives, and support key economic decisions in the energy, air transport, and agriculture arenas–at much lower cost than providing these observations from geostationary orbit. In addition, this observation capability would be a critical tool for the study of transport processes for water vapor, clouds, pollution, and aerosols. In this third year of a NASA Instrument incubator program, the compact infrared spectrometer has been integrated into an airborne version of the instrument for high-altitude flights on a NASA ER2. The purpose of these airborne tests is to examine the potential for improved capabilities for tracking atmospheric motion-vector wind tracer features, and determining their height using hyper-spectral sounding and imaging methods.

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