Press Release

Lockheed Martin Delivers Key Instrument for NASA Earth Observing System Aura Satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
August 15, 2002
Filed under ,

The Lockheed
Martin Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, Calif. has
delivered the High-Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HiRDLS) — a key
instrument for NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura satellite
designed to monitor long term atmospheric changes — to the NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

“We are extremely pleased to have completed development,
integration and testing of this very complex instrument,” said Eric
Johnson, Lockheed Martin HiRDLS program manager. “We’re proud to have
played a role in making possible the important atmospheric monitoring
that Aura will undertake, and anxious to see the results as current
atmospheric models are measured against real science.”

The HiRDLS instrument is an international joint development
project between the United States and the United Kingdom. The ATC was
responsible for the development of four of nine subsystems and
integrated those with five other subsystems built in the United
Kingdom. The company also performed line-of-sight instrument
calibrations and instrument environmental qualifications testing.

GSFC took formal possession of HiRDLS upon shipment from the Palo
Alto facility to Oxford University in England for radiometric
calibration. When that is completed, the instrument will be shipped to
TRW, the spacecraft contractor, for final integration onto the
spacecraft, which is nearing completion at their Redondo Beach, Calif.
facility. Launch is scheduled for early 2004 from Vandenberg Air Force
Base, Calif.

HiRDLS is a 21-channel infrared Earth-limb scanning radiometer
that will monitor the upper tropospheric, stratospheric, and
mesospheric temperature, trace chemicals and geopotential height
gradients over a five-year observation period. The vertical scanning
range will cover the altitudes from 8-80 km. The instrument will be
calibrated to an absolute radiometric accuracy of better than 1%, and
have an angular pointing accuracy knowledge of 0.34 arcsec.

The experimental data gathered from the instrument will add to an
understanding of atmospheric changes associated with ozone layer
depletion and global warming by providing accurate measurements of
temperature, the concentration of important chemical species and
aerosols, and the location of polar stratospheric clouds.

Aura, and the previously launched EOS missions Terra and Aqua,
form the core of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. The goal of the
enterprise is to turn NASA’s space-based observing technology and
scientific expertise to the study of the planet Earth as an integrated
system of land, ocean, atmosphere, ice, and biological processes. By
viewing the Earth from space, scientists can begin to understand how
the systems work and how they interact. Questions posed and answers
found in this grand scientific inquiry will likely yield knowledge of
substantial practical value to society — in weather and climate
forecasting, in agriculture, in natural resource management, in urban
and regional planning, and elsewhere.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the major
operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs,
develops, tests, manufactures, and operates a variety of advanced
technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief
products include a full-range of space launch systems, including
heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and
communications satellites for commercial and government customers,
advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet
ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global
enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development,
manufacture, and integration of advanced-technology systems, products,
and services. The Corporation’s core businesses are systems
integration, space, aeronautics, and technology services. Employing
more than 125,000 people worldwide, Lockheed Martin had 2001 sales
surpassing $24 billion.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of
HiRDLS are available at the following URL:

For more information about Lockheed Martin Space Systems, see our
website at

SpaceRef staff editor.