The NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) was established in 2003 to provide an independent technical resource for the resolution of challenging technical problems (through the use of studies, analysis, tests, etc.). Since its inception, NESC has completed nearly 1000 technical assessments for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operation Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), and Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). Of the SMD related assessments, several were for the resolution of technical problems, analysis, or studies related to NASA’s Earth science missions in various phases of the project from design to operation. Some of the recent examples of NESC technical support for NASA (or NOAA) Earth science missions have been for: Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-II), Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), and the soon to be launched collaboration mission with India, NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). In this paper, we outline some of the technical challenges faced by these Earth science missions and describe how NESC contributed to their resolution. The case studies cover a wide range of disciplines involving space lidars, radars, electronics, attitude control systems, as well as Micrometeoroid Orbital Debris (MMOD) risk assessment impact to NASA missions. The efforts include strategies for risk mitigation, technical resolution of challenging problems, and failure root cause investigations combined with lessons learned reports to advance discipline knowledge, enhance NASA capabilities, and avoid future problems.
The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) and the Department of Interior (DOI) / United States Geological Survey (USGS), is scheduled for launch in
December, 2012. It will be the eighth mission in the Landsat series. The LDCM instrument payload will consist of the
Operational Land Imager (OLI), provided by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation (BATC) under contract to NASA
and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). This paper outlines the
present development status of the two instruments.
The NASA Earth Science System Pathfinder (ESSP) mission Aquarius, will measure global ocean surface salinity with ~100 km spatial resolution every 7-days with an average monthly salinity accuracy of 0.2 psu (parts per thousand). This requires an L-band low-noise radiometer with the long-term calibration stability of less than or equal to 0.1 K over 7 days. A three-year research program on radiometer stability has addressed the radiometer requirements and configuration necessary to achieve this objective. The system configuration and component performance have been evaluated with radiometer test beds at both JPL and GSFC. The research has addressed several areas including component characterization as a function of temperature, system linearity, noise diode calibration, temperature control of components and optimum switching of the Dicke switch for lowest noise performance. A breadboard radiometer, utilizing microstrip-based technologies, has been built to demonstrate this long-term stability. This paper will present the results of the radiometer test program and details on the design of the Aquarius radiometer. The operational sequence that will be used to achieve the low noise and stability requirements will also be discussed.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Microwave Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Environment VI