Ball Aerospace has been selected by NASA for a 20-month contract for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) Phase A sounder (GXS) study within NOAA’s GeoXO program.
Ball will study hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounder instrument design options. Hyperspectral IR sounder observations from GEO will provide a new 3D atmospheric data set for U.S. forecasters and emergency managers and will fulfill a decades’ long goal of providing such a capability.
Ball’s hyperspectral IR sounder for GEO, the Ball Operational Weather Instrument Evolution-GXS (BOWIE-GXS), is part of BOWIE, a series of innovative environmental sensing systems being designed at Ball to meet next generation space-based observation needs identified by our customers. BOWIE-GXS will provide temperature and moisture profiles through the atmosphere with high spectral and temporal resolution in the mid-wave through long-wave infrared wavebands in a compact form. The compact form is a common attribute of the BOWIE line of observing systems. The instrument will also leverage Ball’s proven cryogenic system to provide cooling power for a longer than 10-year mission life.
Ball Aerospace has key roles in the development and production of space-based systems to precisely measure physical properties of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface, including air quality measuring instruments, such as the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which launched in February 2020 and is currently gathering hourly pollution data over southeast Asia. Ball also built and delivered NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument, which is scheduled to launch next year to measure and track individual air pollutants across North America. Additionally, Ball designed and is building a methane monitoring instrument for MethaneSAT, LLC, a subsidiary of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) which, once launched, will measure and track global methane emissions.
“In addition to providing real-time situational awareness, early warning of damaging weather events and high-temporal resolution measurements from geostationary orbit, our instrument concept has the potential to improve air quality monitoring, which will help mitigate health impacts from severe pollution and wildfire events,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “Actionable environmental intelligence, such as atmospheric measurements from space, are essential for informing decision makers to help improve the lives of people here on Earth.”