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Image of AMSU instrument

The Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A), a 15-channel microwave sounder designed primarily to obtain temperature profiles in the upper atmosphere (especially the stratosphere) and to provide a cloud-filtering capability for tropospheric temperature observations. The first AMSU was launched in May 1998 on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) NOAA 15 satellite. The EOS AMSU-A is part of a closely coupled triplet of instruments that include the AIRS and HSB.

["instrument characteristics"]
  • Passive multi-channel microwave radiometer measuring atmospheric temperature.
  • 15 channel microwave sounder with a frequency range of 15-90 GHz.
  • Provides atmospheric temperature measurements from the surface up to 40 km.
  • On board NOAA K/L/M as well as Aqua.

Instrument Facts

Heritage   Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU)
Swath   1650 km
Spatial Resolution   40 km horizontal at nadir
Mass   100 kg
Duty Cycle   100%
Power   125 Watts
Data Rate   3.2 kbps
Thermal Control By   Heater, central thermal bus, radiator
     
Thermal Operating Range   0 to 20°
Field of View (FOV)   ±49.5°
Instrument Instantaneous FOV   3.3°
Pointing Requirements (Platform + Instrument, 3σ)
Control   720 arcsec
Knowledge   360 arcsec
Stability   360 arcsec/sec
Jitter   360 arcsec/sec
Physical Size   65.5 x 29.9 x 59.2 cm (A1)
54.6 x 64.9 x 69.7 cm (A2)
  Instruments Links
 
Visualizations

"AMSU Scans Western Europe"


On Aqua, AMSU is integrally coupled with the AIRS instrument. Since 1998, AMSU instruments have also flown on satellites of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This artist concept animation shows the AMSU 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 3:13 PM