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Proceedings Paper

Performance of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) in the radiation environment of low-earth orbit
Author(s): Margaret H. Weiler; Kenneth R. Overoye; James A. Stobie; Paul B. O'Sullivan; Steven L. Gaiser; Steven E. Broberg; Denis A. Elliott
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Paper Abstract

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), a hyperspectral infrared sounder, was launched onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft on May 4, 2002 into sun-synchronous polar Earth orbit for a mission expected to last 7 years. By monitoring calibration data from views of deep space and two on-board calibrators, we have identified a number of effects attributed to in-orbit radiation. Transient effects include 1. steps in the output level of individual channels, attributed to injection of charge into a large capacitor in the read-out electronics integrated circuit (ROIC); and 2. spikes in the calibration data and, by inference, in the scene data, attributed to the passage of ionizing radiation through the active region of the HgCdTe detectors. On-board signal processing corrects for most of the spike effects, and ground processing smoothes the hot and cold calibration data and provides a system of flags to alert the user in cases where the calculated radiances are still suspect. Persistent effects include 1. extremely rare degradations of channels due to large charge injection events; and 2. slow increases in noise levels for a small number of channels, attributed to bias shifts due to the slow accumulation of radiation dose in the ROIC input cells for some channels. In addition to these detector effects, two operational anomalies have been attributed to the high radiation levels in the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA), one an unplanned cooler shut-down, the second an unplanned stopping of the scan mirror. This paper presents statistics on the frequency and location of these radiation events, and provides a description of the mechanisms by which such events are identified and accounted for. It should be emphasized that the vast majority of the 2378 AIRS infrared channels, and the instrument as a whole, have shown excellent stability and operability throughout the mission.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 August 2005
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 5882, Earth Observing Systems X, 588210 (22 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.615244
Show Author Affiliations
Margaret H. Weiler, Swales Aerospace (United States)
Kenneth R. Overoye, BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare Systems (United States)
James A. Stobie, BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare Systems (United States)
Paul B. O'Sullivan, BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare Systems (United States)
Steven L. Gaiser, Jet Propulsion Lab., California Institute of Technology (United States)
Steven E. Broberg, Jet Propulsion Lab., California Institute of Technology (United States)
Denis A. Elliott, Jet Propulsion Lab., California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5882:
Earth Observing Systems X
James J. Butler, Editor(s)

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