Synonyms: 
DHC-3
DHC3
TO
Otter

Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer

In early 2000, the Ames Atmospheric Radiation Group completed the design and development of an all new Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer (SSFR). The SSFR is used to measure solar spectral irradiance at moderate resolution to determine the radiative effect of clouds, aerosols, and gases on climate, and also to infer the physical properties of aerosols and clouds. Additionally, the SSFR was used to acquire water vapor spectra using the Ames 25-meter base-path multiple-reflection absorption cell in a laboratory experiment. The Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer is a moderate resolution flux (irradiance) spectrometer with 8-12 nm spectral resolution, simultaneous zenith and nadir viewing. It has a radiometric accuracy of 3% and a precision of 0.5%. The instrument is calibrated before and after every experiment, using a NIST-traceable lamp. During field experiments, the stability of the calibration is monitored before and after each flight using portable field calibrators. Each SSFR consists of 2 light collectors, which are either fix-mounted to the aircraft fuselage, or on a stabilizing platform which counteracts the movements of the aircraft. Through fiber optic cables, the light collectors are connected to 2 identical pairs of spectrometers, which cover the wavelength range from (a) 350 nm-1000 nm (Zeiss grating spectrometer with Silicon linear diode array) and (b) 950 nm - 2150 nm (Zeiss grating spectrometer with InGaAs linear diode array). Each spectrometer pair covers about 95% of the incoming solar incident irradiance spectrum.

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Warm Ice Sounding Explorer

WISE is an airborne sounder designed to measure the nadir ice thickness of warmer and fractured glacier. Its design is based on a successful planetary sounder MARSIS that enables scientist to discover layered water-ice deposits near Mars poles.

The airborne sounder uses 15-300 meter long wavelengths in order to penetrate into rough surfaces, voids, and cracks before they are reflected by the interface between ice and bedrock. This makes the system well suited for the study of outlet glaciers whose internal structures are very complicated due to fast-moving surfaces and proximity to a relatively warm body of ocean.

Such an investigation will provide us with valuable information such as ice stratigraphy and the ground slope of the bedrock layer as well as ice thickness, which is very important to construct a reliable ice-flow model.

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DC-3, Twin Otter
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Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-counting Lidar

SIMPL is an advanced-technology airborne laser altimeter developed through NASA’s ESTO Instrument Incubator Program. Simultaneously measures surface topography, roughness and slope as well as scattering properties to differentiate surface types. SIMPL is a technology and remote sensing pathfinder for next-generation, high-efficiency, spaceflight laser altimeters. Developed with a focus on ice sheet elevation and its change, sea ice thickness and its change, and icy moon surface processes.

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Polarimetric Ku-Band Scatterometer

PolSCAT is a Ku-band polarmetric scanning scatterometer operating at 13.95 GHz. with an approved NASA license. The transmitting polarizations of PolSCAT, alternating between Vertical and Horizontal, from pulse to pulse. Two receivers detect the V and H polarized radar echoes simultaneously allowing for measurements of VV, HH, VH, and HV radar responses. It provides scalable resolution, between 3,000 and 20,000 feet AGL.

The PolSCAT antenna assembly includes two axis gimbals for conically scanning, parabolic antenna, which is controlled from 0° (nadir) to 65 degrees. It was designed and built to investigate the benefits of active microwave for the remote sensing of high resolution snow-water-equivalent (SWE).

PolSCAT’s flexible design is compatible with many aircraft. It has flown on the NCAR C-130, NASA’s DC-8, P-3, and Twin Otter International’s, Twin Otter. Flown more than 500 hours in support of NASA’s Cold Land Process (CLPX) campaigns, PolSCAT is a very mature instrument.

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Passive Active L- and S-band Sensor

PALS is a combined polarimetric radiometer and NASA licensed radar sharing a rotating planar array antenna. The PALS instrument includes a combined L-band radiometer and scatterometer , operating at 1.413 GHz and 1.26 GHz respectively. It was designed and built to investigate the benefits of combining passive and active microwave sensors for Ocean salinity and Soil moisture remote sensing. It is the prototype for the Aquarius and SMAP missions and its flexible design is compatible with many aircraft.

The PALS radar and radiometer time share a dual pole, dual frequency planner array antenna. The antenna configuration can be fixed or rotating. It provides scalable resolution, between 3,000 and 20,000 feet AGL. It is an Aquarius and SMAP test bed.

PALS has flown on the NCAR C-130, NASA’s P-3 and Twin Otter International’s, Twin Otter. It is a very mature instrument, and has flown more than 800 hours, in support of NASA campaigns.

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Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder

The Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) has developed radars (MCoRDS) that operate over the frequency range from 140 to 230 MHz with multiple receivers developed for airborne sounding and imaging of ice sheets. MCoRDS radars have an adjustable radar bandwidth of 20 MHz to 60 MHz. Multiple receivers permit digital beamsteering for suppressing cross-track surface clutter that can mask weak ice-bed echoes and strip-map synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images of the ice-bed interface. With 200 W of peak transmit power, a loop sensitivity > 190 dB is achieved. These radars are flown on twin engine and long-range aircraft including NASA P-3 and DC-8.

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Hyperspectral Thermal Emissions Spectrometer

The Hyperspectral Thermal Emissions Spectrometer (HyTES) instrument has 512 pixels across track with pixel sizes in the range of 5 to 50 m depending on aircraft flying height and 256 spectral channels between 7.5 and 12 µm. The HyTES design is built upon a Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) focal plane array (FPA) , a cryo-cooled Dyson Spectrometer and a high-efficiency, concave blazed grating, produced using E-beam lithography.

HyTES will be useful for a number of applications, including high-resolution surface temperature and emissivity measurements and volcano observations. HyTES measurements will also be used to help determine scientifically optimal band locations for the thermal infrared (TIR) instrument for the Decadal HyspIRI mission.

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Twin Otter
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Digital Camera System

DCS is a 16-megapixel color infrared digital camera system, providing high resolution imagery for mission tracking purposes Geo-referenced image products may be generated, when used in conjunction with a POS-AV system.

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Carbon Dioxide Laser Absorption Spectrometer

The CO2LAS instrument was jointly developed by JPL and Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies under funding from the NASA Earth Science Technology Office Instrument Incubator Program.

The instrument uses three continuous-wave (c.w.) Th:Ho:YLF lasers, one of which is used as an absolute frequency reference and is locked to a carbon dioxide absorption line in an internal gas cell using a phase modulation spectroscopy scheme. The remaining two lasers are offset frequency locked from the reference laser to provide the online and offline beams that are propagated through the atmosphere. The online and offline beams are expanded to an eye-safe level and transmitted to the ground where they are reflected back to the instrument, collected by the receive optics and detected. The use of the offset frequency-locking scheme together with the absolute frequency reference enables the absolute frequency of the online and offline lasers to be held to within 200 kHz of the desired values. The CO2LAS transceiver uses separate co-axial transmit/receive paths for each of the on-line and off-line channels.

A Doppler frequency shift is induced between the outgoing and return signals by pointing the transmit beams slightly off nadir. This frequency offset, together with a polarization transmit/receive architecture, ensures the receive signals are separated from the transmit signals by both polarization and frequency. The nominal Doppler offset is 15 MHz but this will vary as the aircraft attitude changes. The return signals on each channel are digitized and stored during flight for post-processing. Throughput of the data collection system was increased from ~8% to >20% between 2006 and 2007.

In order to ensure the instrument remains stable, the output power and frequency of all three lasers are monitored. The output power values for the online and offline lasers are used in the determination of the on-line and off-line absorption as part of the LAS measurement. The output power value for the reference laser is used primarily as a laser health status to check the integrity of the CO2 line center lock.

The electronics for the CO2LAS are mounted in two racks that typically mount to the seat rails of the host aircraft. One rack contains the control electronics for the transceiver system, laser controller, frequency locking electronics and provides the user interface for the overall system.

The second rack houses the chiller that supplies the optical transceiver with coolant and the signal processor which receives housekeeping data from the electronics rack, and digitizes, stores and analyzes the lidar return signal. The CO2LAS uses a Gigabit Ethernet system to distribute data across the system and to other computers that can be connected into the gigabit hub located in the back of one of the racks.

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DC-8 - AFRC, Twin Otter
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