You are here

Atmospheric Environmental Metrology for Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) Sensor Flight Test


OBJECTIVE: Design and develop a capability for measuring the atmospheric absorbers along the line-of-sight of airborne Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) sensors in support of sensor flight tests DESCRIPTION: Currently, flight tests of airborne EO/IR sensors typically rely on the use of data from radiosonde balloons to characterize the test atmosphere. However, radiosonde balloons measure the atmosphere at a single location and time. As EO/IR sensor missions require imaging at longer slant ranges, higher altitudes, and over longer flight durations, the sparse spatial and temporal nature of the radiosonde data has become inadequate. A capability is needed that can accurately measure atmospheric conditions in support of EO/IR sensor flight testing. The ideal solution should characterize the atmosphere along the slant path from the ground target to the airborne sensor continually throughout test periods of up to eight hours, and perform in both day and night conditions. At a minimum, the capability to characterize atmospheric constituents such as Precipitable Water Vapor (PWV) along a vertical path from the ground to the aircraft test altitude is needed. Consideration should be given to promising technologies such as Fourier Transform IR (FTIR) Spectrometers and GPS Meteorology. An approach that focuses on software and minimizes the use of expensive test instrumentation is desirable. PHASE I: Design, develop and demonstrate the feasibility of a software and hardware solution implementing atmospheric environment metrology. PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate prototype hardware and software solution based upon the findings in Phase I. PHASE III: Field a working system for acceptance test and develop system hardware and software refinements to enhance overall performance and allow for application growth. Transition the developed technology to appropriate users and platforms. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: There are numerous public and private applications that require characterization of the atmospheric constituents such as precipitable water vapor (PWV). These include characterization of airborne EO and IR sensors, estimating predicted detection ranges, calibrating ground based telescopes, and others. REFERENCES: 1. Schneider, M. et al. (2010), Continuous Quality Assessment of Atmospheric Water Vapour Measurement Techniques: FTIR, Cimel, MFRSR, GPS, and Vaisala RS92, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 3, 323-338, 2010. 2. Schneider, M. et al. (2009), Ground-based FTIR Water Vapour Profile Analyses, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 2, 609-619, 2009. 3. Duan, J., Bevis, M., et al. (1995). GPS Meteorology: Direct Estimate of the Absolute Value of Precipitable Water, Journal of Applied Meteorology, Vol 35.
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government