JSC- Gulfstream V
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Supporting the South African National Rugby Team The Springboks

Instrument work on a no-fly day

On board NASA 5 preflight STAQS flight #3

STAQS and AEROMMA aircraft ready

High Altitude Lidar Observatory

The NASA Langley High Altitude Lidar Observatory (HALO) is used to characterize distributions of greenhouse gasses, and clouds and small particles in the atmosphere, called aerosols. From an airborne platform, the HALO instrument provides nadir-viewing profiles of water vapor, methane columns, and profiles of aerosol and cloud optical properties, which are used to study aerosol impacts on radiation, clouds, air quality, and methane emissions.  When the water vapor, aerosol and cloud products are combined it provides one of the most comprehensive data sets available to study aerosol cloud interactions.  HALO is also configured to provide in the future measurements of the near-surface ocean, including depth-resolved subsurface backscatter and attenuation.

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Modular Aerial Sensing System

The Modular Aerial Sensing System (MASS) is a compact airborne sensor package of optical remote sensing instrumentation that is coupled to a tactical grade inertial navigation system. The system includes a waveform scanning lidar; visible, infrared, and hyperspectral imaging systems; and an infrared pyrometer.

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Twin Otter International, Partenavia P68C (Aspen Helicopter), Gulfstream V - JSC
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High Spectral Resolution Lidar 2

The NASA Langley airborne High-Spectral-Resolution Lidar – Generation 2 (HSRL-2) is used to characterize clouds and small particles in the atmosphere, called aerosols. From an airborne platform, the HSRL-2 instrument provides nadir-viewing profiles of aerosol and cloud optical and microphysical properties, which are used studies aerosol impacts on radiation, clouds, and air quality. HSRL-2 also provides measurements of the near-surface ocean, including depth-resolved subsurface backscatter and attenuation. HSRL-2 can also be configured to utilize the differential absorption (DIAL) technique for measuring profiles of ozone concentrations in addition to the above products.

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Gulfstream V - JSC

NASA Johnson Space Center
13.0 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
8 000 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
91 000 lbs
Max Altitude: 
Air Speed: 
500 knots
5 500 Nmi
NASA SMD User Fee per Hour: 
Point(s) of Contact: 

Jeffrey Sugar

Work: (281) 792-8439

Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor

NASA’s Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) is a wide-swath, high-altitude, full-waveform airborne laser altimeter and camera sensor suite designed to provide elevation and surface structure measurements over hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. LVIS is an efficient and cost-effective capability for mapping land, water, and ice surface topography, vegetation height and vertical structure, and surface dynamics. The LVIS Facility is comprised of two high-altitude scanning lidar systems plus cameras that have been integrated on numerous NASA, NSF, and commercial aircraft platforms providing a diverse and flexible capability to meet a broad range of science needs. The newest Facility lidar (LVIS-F) began operations in 2017 using a 4,000 Hz laser, and an earlier 1,000 Hz sensor built in 2010 has undergone various upgrades (LVIS-Classic). High-resolution, commercial off-the-shelf cameras are co-mounted with LVIS lidars providing geotagged image coverage across the LVIS swath. LVIS sensors have flown extensively for a wide range of science applications and have been installed on over a dozen different aircraft, most recently on NASA’s high-altitude Gulfstream-V jet based at Johnson Space Center

The LVIS lidars are full-waveform laser altimeters, meaning that the systems digitally record both the outgoing and reflected laser pulse shapes providing a true 3-dimensional record of the surface and centimeter-level range precision. Multiple science data products are available for each footprint, including the geolocated waveform vector, sub-canopy topography, canopy or structure height, surface complexity, and others. LVIS lidars map a ±6 degree wide data swath centered on nadir (e.g., at an operating altitude of 10 km, the data swath is 2 km wide). They are designed to fly at higher altitudes than what is typical for commercial lidars in order to map a wider swath with low incidence angles, avoid the need for terrain following, while operating at much higher speeds that maximize the range of the aircraft. Recent data campaigns include deployments to Antarctica, Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the conterminous US, Central America, French Guiana, and Gabon.

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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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