Lockheed Martin Delivers Key Instrument for NASA Earth Observing System Aura Satellite
SUNNYVALE, CA, August 15th, 2002 -- The Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, Calif. has delivered the High-Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HiRDLS) -- a key instrument for NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura satellite designed to monitor long term atmospheric changes -- to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). "We are extremely pleased to have completed development, integration and testing of this very complex instrument," said Eric Johnson, Lockheed Martin HiRDLS program manager. "We're proud to have played a role in making possible the important atmospheric monitoring that Aura will undertake, and anxious to see the results as current atmospheric models are measured against real science."
The HiRDLS instrument is an international joint development project between the United States and the United Kingdom. The ATC was responsible for the development of four of nine subsystems and integrated those with five other subsystems built in the United Kingdom. The company also performed line-of-sight instrument calibrations and instrument environmental qualifications testing.
GSFC took formal possession of HiRDLS upon shipment from the Palo Alto facility to Oxford University in England for radiometric calibration. When that is completed, the instrument will be shipped to TRW, the spacecraft contractor, for final integration onto the spacecraft, which is nearing completion at their Redondo Beach, Calif. facility. Launch is scheduled for early 2004 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
HiRDLS is a 21-channel infrared Earth-limb scanning radiometer that will monitor the upper tropospheric, stratospheric, and mesospheric temperature, trace chemicals and geopotential height gradients over a five-year observation period. The vertical scanning range will cover the altitudes from 8-80 km. The instrument will be calibrated to an absolute radiometric accuracy of better than 1%, and have an angular pointing accuracy knowledge of 0.34 arcsec.
The experimental data gathered from the instrument will add to an understanding of atmospheric changes associated with ozone layer depletion and global warming by providing accurate measurements of temperature, the concentration of important chemical species and aerosols, and the location of polar stratospheric clouds.
Aura, and the previously launched EOS missions Terra and Aqua, form the core of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise. The goal of the enterprise is to turn NASA's space-based observing technology and scientific expertise to the study of the planet Earth as an integrated system of land, ocean, atmosphere, ice, and biological processes. By viewing the Earth from space, scientists can begin to understand how the systems work and how they interact. Questions posed and answers found in this grand scientific inquiry will likely yield knowledge of substantial practical value to society -- in weather and climate forecasting, in agriculture, in natural resource management, in urban and regional planning, and elsewhere.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures, and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.