The NASA New Millennium Program's Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) instrument
was designed to provide enormous advances in water vapor, wind, temperature, and trace gas profiling from
geostationary orbit. The top-level instrument calibration requirement is to measure brightness temperature to better than
1 K (3 sigma) over a broad range of atmospheric brightness temperatures, with a reproducibility of ±0.2 K. For the onboard
calibration approach used by GIFTS that employs two internal blackbody sources (290 K and 255 K) plus a space
view sequenced at regular programmable intervals, this instrument level requirement places tight requirements on the
blackbody temperature uncertainty (0.1 K) and emissivity uncertainty (0.001). The blackbody references are cavities
that follow the UW Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) design, scaled to the GIFTS beam size. The
engineering model blackbody system was completed and fully calibrated at the University of Wisconsin and delivered
for integration into the GIFTS Engineering Development Unit (EDU) at the Utah State Space Dynamics Laboratory.
This paper presents a detailed description of the methodology used to establish the required temperature and emissivity
performance, with emphasis on the traceability to NIST standards. In addition, blackbody temperature data are presented
from the GIFTS EDU thermal vacuum tests that indicate excellent temperature stability. The delivered on-board
blackbody calibration system exceeds performance goals - the cavity spectral emissivity is better than 0.998 with an
absolute uncertainty of less than 0.001, and the absolute blackbody temperature uncertainty is better than 0.06 K.