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About Aqua
image of AIRS instrument

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an advanced sounder containing 2378 infrared channels and four visible/near-infrared channels, aimed at obtaining highly accurate temperature profiles within the atmosphere plus a variety of additional Earth/atmosphere products. AIRS will be the highlighted instrument in the AIRS/AMSU-A/HSB triplet centered on measuring accurate temperature and humidity profiles throughout the atmosphere.

instrument characteristics
  • High-spectral resolution, grating multispectral infrared sounder operated in a cross-track-scanning mode with AMSU-A and HSB for all weather capabiity.
  • Measure's the Earth's outgoing radiation at 0.4 to 1.0 µm and 3.7 to 15.4 µm.
  • 1 K temperature retrieval accuracy per 1 km layer in the troposphere.
  • 0.05 emissivity accuracy.
  • Array grating spectrometer (3.74 to 15.4 µm), with a spectral resolution of 1200 (λ / Δλ)

instrument facts

Responsible Center   Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Heritage   Advanced Moisture and Temperature Sounder (AMTS) Study, High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS)
Swath   1650 km
Spatial Resolution   13.5 km at horizontal at nadir, 1 km vertical
Mass   156 kg
Duty Cycle   100%
Power   256 Watts
Data Rate   1.44 Mbps
Thermal Control By   Redundant 60 K Stirling cycle coolers, heater, mini thermal bus, two-stage radiator
Thermal Operating Range   20-25°C
Field of View (FOV)   ±49.5°
Instrument Instantaneous FOV   1.1Å° circular
Pointing Requirements (platform+instrument, 3σ)
Control   360 arcsec
Knowledge   180 arcsec
Stability   360/60 sec
Jitter   TBD
Physical Size   139.7 x 77.5 x 76.2 cm (stowed), 139.7 x 151.2 x 76.2 cm (deployed)

"AIRS Scans the US West Coast"

The AIRS on Aqua is the first AIRS instrument and a major advance over earlier sounders flown in space. AIRS will measure atmospheric temperatures, humidities, and a host of other products, in order to improve weather forecasting and the understanding of climate processes. This artist's concept animation shows the AIRS instrument measuring air temperatures at five levels in the atmosphere, each level indicated by a separate color.



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NASA Official: Claire Parkinson
Last Updated: April 10, 2014 at 3:12 PM