Title of Presentation: Development of a UAV-based Global Ozone Lidar Demonstrator (GOLD)

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Edward V. Browell

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Langley Research Center

Co-Authors: Johnathan Hair, Thomas McGee, Dale Richter, Wayne Welch, Russell DeYoung, Christopher Thornton, R. Michael Hardesty, W. Alan Brewer, Syed Ismail, I. Stuart McDermid


Abstract: Global ozone measurements are needed across the troposphere with high vertical resolution to enable comprehensive studies of continental and intercontinental atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, which are affected by diverse natural and human-induced processes.  The development of an unattended aerial vehicle (UAV) based Global Ozone Lidar Demonstrator (GOLD) is an important step in enabling a space-based ozone and aerosol lidar and for conducting unique UAV-based large-scale atmospheric investigations. 

The GOLD system will incorporate the most advanced technology developed under the NASA Laser Risk Reduction Program (LRRP) and the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to produce a compact, autonomously operating ozone and aerosol Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) system for a UAV platform.  This system will leverage advanced Nd:YAG and optical parametric oscillator (OPO) laser technologies being developed by ITT Industries under the LRRP and advanced receiver optics and electronics and DIAL control system technologies developed by the GOLD team including ITT and Welch Mechanical Designs.  All the GOLD sub-systems will be integrated and ground tested at NASA Langley and flight tested on a NASA UAV.

The development of the GOLD system was initiated as part of the NASA Instrument Incubator Program in December 2005, and great progress has been made towards completing major GOLD subsystems.  ITT has nearly completed the development of the high-power Nd:YAG pump laser and the  OPO nonlinear conversion modules for generating the ozone DIAL wavelengths of 290 and 300 nm and the aerosol visible wavelength at 532 nm.  NOAA has completed detector evaluations for use in the GOLD system.  Welch Mechanical Designs has a design concept for integrating GOLD into the external pod that will be hung under the NASA Dryden IKHANA UAV.  Details of the GOLD system design and development will be presented in this paper, and science applications for a UAV-based and space-based ozone lidar will be discussed.