In the fall of 2005 we began developing an airborne scanning direct detection molecular Doppler lidar. The instrument is being built as part of the Tropospheric Wind Lidar Technology Experiment (TWiLiTE), a three year project selected by the NASA Earth Sun Technology Office under the Instrument Incubator Program. The TWiLiTE project is a collaboration involving scientists and engineers from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NOAA ESRL, Utah State University Space Dynamics Lab, Michigan Aerospace Corporation and Sigma Space Corporation. The TWiLiTE instrument will leverage significant research and development investments made by NASA Goddard and it's partners in the past several years in key lidar technologies and sub-systems (lasers, telescopes, scanning systems, detectors and receivers) required to enable spaceborne global wind lidar measurement. These sub-systems will be integrated into a complete molecular direct detection Doppler wind lidar system designed for autonomous operation on a high altitude aircraft, such as the NASA WB57. The WB57 flies at an altitude of 18 km and from this vantage point the nadir viewing Doppler lidar will be able to profile winds through the full troposphere. The TWiLiTE integrated airborne Doppler lidar instrument will be the first demonstration of a airborne scanning direct detection Doppler lidar and will serve as a critical milestone on the path to a future spaceborne tropospheric wind system. In addition to being a technology testbed for space based tropospheric wind lidar, when completed the TWiLiTE high altitude airborne lidar will be used for studying mesoscale dynamics and storm research (e.g. winter storms, hurricanes) and could be used for calibration and validation of satellite based wind systems such as ESA's Aeolus Atmospheric Dynamics Mission. The TWiLiTE Doppler lidar will have the capability to profile winds in clear air from the aircraft altitude of 18 km to the surface with 250 m vertical resolution and 〈 2mls velocity accuracy.
Communications and Radar
23rd International Laser Radar Conference; Jul 24, 2006 - Jul 18, 2006; Nara; Japan