An airborne imaging radiometer (AIR) for atmospheric and surface process studies

Type: Journal Article

Venue: Proceedings SPIE


Brian R. Johnson, Kevin P. Czajkowski, Robert P. d'Entremont, Julie A. Haggerty, Thomas U. Kampe, Hilary E. Snell and Jennifer A. Turner-Valle, "An airborne imaging radiometer (AIR) for atmospheric and surface process studies", Proc. SPIE 5655, 212 (2005); doi:10.1117/12.578289

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The Airborne Imaging Radiometer (AIR) is a small, low mass and power sensor being developed by Ball Aerospace for studies of atmospheric and surface processes. AIR is designed to be a well calibrated, high spatial resolution multispectral imaging sensor. It has been proposed to be built and flown as part of a larger compliment of instrumentation for the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) under development by the National Science Foundation. The sensor design as currently envisaged will fit within the wing pod 18-inch diameter cylindrical envelope. The sensor is configured as a pushbroom-imager with an 8-km swath width at the nominal 12.5-km flight altitude of HIAPER. It will provide 50-meter resolution thermal imagery in ten spectral bands for the determination of surface and cloud top temperature, cirrus cloud properties, and layer averaged distributions of atmospheric temperature, water vapor and column ozone. A companion visible camera provides 25-meter imagery to aid in the analysis of the infrared imagery. AIR is designed around a Raytheon 320x240 element, 25 um pitch uncooled microbolometer detector array. This technology has advantages over other infrared detector technologies for airborne applications because it does not require a mechanical cryocooler or liquid nitrogen-filled dewar to achieve the necessary longwave response simplifying optical, thermal and mechanical design.