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Proceedings Paper

MISTiC winds: a micro-satellite constellation approach to high resolution observations of the atmosphere using infrared sounding and 3D winds measurements: a summary of risk reduction testing
Author(s): K. R. Maschhoff; J. J. Polizotti; M. Janelle; C. M. Gittins; S. Fingerman
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Paper Abstract

MISTiC 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 an ESPAClass (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. Risk reduction investments by NASA ESTO and BAE Systems have supported an airborne demonstration of this hyperspectral observing method from a NASA ER2, as well as laboratory testing of the spectrometer. 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. Some of the hyperspectral observations from flights in December 2017 will be described, together with satellite and radiosonde observations similar in time and location. Critical laboratory test results will also be described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 August 2019
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 11131, CubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III, 111310I (30 August 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2530810
Show Author Affiliations
K. R. Maschhoff, BAE Systems (United States)
J. J. Polizotti, BAE Systems (United States)
M. Janelle, BAE Systems (United States)
C. M. Gittins, BAE Systems (United States)
S. Fingerman, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11131:
CubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III
Thomas S. Pagano; Charles D. Norton; Sachidananda R. Babu, Editor(s)

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