2002 IIP Projects Announced

Elvia H. Thompson
Headquarters, Washington Dec. 19, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1696)

Ed Campion
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-8955)

RELEASE: 02-246


NASA has awarded funding for nine new investigations
for technology development of innovative Earth Science
remote-sensing instruments, under the Instrument Incubator
Program (IIP), to support the mission to understand and
protect our home planet.

The selected proposals focus on high-priority measurement
areas of Earth’s coastal region; Earth’s interior processes
and motions; sea-ice thickness and snow cover; pollution
effects; and precipitation, evaporation and cycling of
water. A proposal also focused on innovative technologies
supporting measurement concepts from the L1 or L2 Lagrangian
points (the points in space where the opposing pull of the
Earth reduces the effective pull of the Sun; L1 being on the
sun-facing side of Earth and L2 on the opposite or dark side
of the Earth).

The main purpose of IIP is to invest in research and
development of new and innovative technologies to support
the NASA Earth Science Enterprise goals and objectives. IIP
focuses on creating mature technologies leading to smaller,
less resource-intensive and less expensive flight
instruments that can be built quickly and efficiently.

The technologies selected include hyperspectral grating
spectrometer technologies for measuring coastal region
features and key chemical constituents in the troposphere
that contribute to pollution. Advanced grating spectrometer
technologies will also be studied for measuring atmospheric
temperature and moisture from geosynchronous orbit.

Also selected are microwave radiometer and advanced radar
technologies to measure sea-ice thickness, snow cover and
rainfall, to support understanding cycling of Earth’s fresh
water, variation of its climate, and monitoring of
volcanoes, earthquakes and hazardous weather from
geosynchronous orbits. An innovative investigation will
explore technologies to place a solar-occultation instrument
at the L2 Lagrangian point, about 1,500,000 km on the dark
side of the Earth, to perform continuous profiling of many
trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Technologies to measure fine deformations of the Earth’s
crust, using interferometric synthetic aperture radars, and
to measure minute changes in Earth’s gravitation field will
also be developed. The objective is better understanding of
natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding,
sea level change and severe storms.

The selected advanced technology projects will allow the
next generation of orbiting environmental research
satellites to observe Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and
continents in minutes and seconds compared to days and
hours. The enhanced temporal coverage compliments the
enhanced spatial resolution that has been the hallmark of
NASA’s Earth Science remote sensing technologies since the
dawn of the space age.

The investigations selected by NASA’s Office of Earth
Science are:

Scott Hensley (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
Pasadena, Calif.): Rapid-Repeat Deformation Measurement
Capability for the NASA AIRSAR System

Jay Herman (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC),
Greenbelt, Md.): SVIP: Solar Viewing Interferometer
Prototype for Observations of Earth Greenhouse Gases

Ziad Hussein (JPL): Cryospheric Advanced Sensor: A
Spaceborne Microwave Sensor for Sea Ice Thickness and Snow
Cover Characteristics

Eastwood Im (JPL): NEXRAD In Space (NIS) — A Radar for
Monitoring Hurricanes from Geostationary Orbit

Scott Janz (GSFC): Geostationary Spectrograph (GeoSpec) for
Earth and Atmospheric Science Applications

Thomas Kampe (Ball Aerospace Systems Division, Boulder,
Colo.): The Spaceborne Infrared Atmospheric Sounder for
Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SIRAS-G)

Bjorn Lambrigtsen (JPL): Prototype Geostationary Synthetic
Thinned-Aperture Radiometer

Robert Nerem (University of Colorado, Boulder):
Interferometric Range Transceiver (IRT) for Measuring
Temporal Gravity Variations

Kamal Sarabandi (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor):
Geostationary/Low-Earth Orbiting Radar Image Acquisition
System: A Multi-Static GEO/LEO SAR Satellite Constellation
for Earth Observation

NASA received 28 proposals for technology development
efforts and selected nine for funding. The total funding for
these investigations, over a period of three years, is
approximately $22 million.