Title: Getting the GeoSTAR Instrument Concept Ready for a Space Mission
Author: Bjorn Lambrigtsen
Organization: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Co-Authors: Todd Gaier, Alan Tanner, Pekka Kangaslahti, Shannon Brown, Boon Lim, Christopher Ruf

The Geostationary Synthetic Thinned Array Radiometer ñ GeoSTAR ñ is a microwave sounder intended for geostationary satellites. First proposed for the EO-3 New Millennium mission in 1999, the technology has since been developed under the Instrument Incubator Program. Under IIP-03 a proof-of-concept demonstrator operating in the temperature sounding 50 GHz band was developed to show that the aperture synthesis concept results in a realizable, stable and accurate imaging-sounding radiometer. Some of the most challenging technology, such as miniature low-power 183-GHz receivers used for water vapor sounding, was developed under IIP-07. The first such receiver has recently been adapted for use in the High Altitude MMIC Sounding Radiometer (HAMSR), which was previously developed under IIP-98. This receiver represents a new state of the art and outperforms the previous benchmark by an order of magnitude in radiometric sensitivity. It was first used in the GRIP hurricane field campaign in 2010, where HAMSR became the first microwave sounder to fly on the Global Hawk UAV. Now, under IIP-10, we will develop flight-like subsystems and a brassboard testing system, which will facilitate rapid implementation of a space mission. GeoSTAR is the baseline payload for the Precipitation and All-weather Temperature and Humidity (PATH) mission ñ one of NASAís 15 ìdecadal-surveyî missions. Although PATH is currently in the third tier of those missions, the IIP efforts have advanced the required technology to a point where a space mission can be initiated in a time frame commensurate with second-tier missions. An even earlier Venture mission is also being considered.

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