Advanced Component Technology
The Building Blocks of Cutting Edge Earth Science Instruments
The Advanced Component Technologies Program funds new component- and subsystem-level technologies to reduce the risk, cost, size, mass, and development time of missions and infrastructure.
The program leverages technology investments by collaborating with national and international agencies, and with U.S. private industry. It helps mature components so that they can be integrated into other NASA-funded technology projects, including those funded by the Instrument Incubator Program. Some components are directly infused into mission designs by flight projects. Other components “graduate” to other programs for further development.
Although current investments are primarily geared toward developing components for instruments, the program also develops new ways to perform measurements and process data products to expand research and application capabilities.
ACT Project Highlights
New Radiometers to be Demonstrated in Space
Continuous, precise measurements of the Sun's Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) is critical to our understanding of solar variability and Earth's climate. The Carbon Absolute Electrical Substitution Radiometer (CAESR) can measure TSI with high accuracy without the need of active cooling, enabling a CubeSat-sized mission architecture.
Very Long-Wavelength Infrared Focal Plane Arrays Capable of Use on a CubeSat
Very long-wavelength infrared (VLWIR) focal plane arrays (FPAs) needed for Earth Science imaging, spectral imaging, and sounding applications have always been among the most challenging in infrared photodetector technology due to the rigorous material growth, device design and fabrication demands. A new design, the T2SLS Digital Focal Plane Array, demonstrates cutting edge technology with higher operating temperature and sensitivity than previously attainable.
Computational Reconfigurable Imaging Spectrometer
Spaceborne imagers and sounders have revolutionized understanding of weather and climate, although current designs have cost and size limitations. CRISP is a computational imaging spectrometer in 7-13 um spectral range that exploits platform motion, dispersive elements, and coded sensing techniques to enable miniaturization and reconfigurability.
ACT uses the NASA Research Announcement as its investment vehicle. Links to the full solicitations and awards are listed below.