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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 7 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 3861-3870, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Jul 2018

Research article | 02 Jul 2018

A highly miniaturized satellite payload based on a spatial heterodyne spectrometer for atmospheric temperature measurements in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere

Martin Kaufmann1,2, Friedhelm Olschewski2, Klaus Mantel3, Brian Solheim4, Gordon Shepherd4, Michael Deiml1,2,a, Jilin Liu1,2, Rui Song1,2, Qiuyu Chen2, Oliver Wroblowski1,2, Daikang Wei1,2, Yajun Zhu1, Friedrich Wagner8, Florian Loosen3,8, Denis Froehlich5, Tom Neubert5, Heinz Rongen5, Peter Knieling2, Panos Toumpas2, Jinjun Shan6, Geshi Tang7, Ralf Koppmann2, and Martin Riese1,2 Martin Kaufmann et al.
  • 1Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-7), Research Center Juelich, Juelich, Germany
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
  • 3Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany
  • 4Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics, Electronic Systems (ZEA-2), Research Centre Juelich, Juelich, Germany
  • 6Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 7Aerospace Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Beijing, China
  • 8Institute of Optics, Information and Photonics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
  • anow at: OHB System AG, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. A highly miniaturized limb sounder for the observation of the O2 A-band to derive temperatures in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere is presented. The instrument consists of a monolithic spatial heterodyne spectrometer (SHS), which is able to resolve the rotational structure of the R-branch of that band. The relative intensities of the emission lines follow a Boltzmann distribution and the ratio of the lines can be used to derive the kinetic temperature. The SHS operates at a Littrow wavelength of 761.8nm and heterodynes a wavelength regime between 761.9 and 765.3nm with a resolving power of about 8000 considering apodization effects. The size of the SHS is 38 × 38 × 27mm3 and its acceptance angle is ±5°. It has an etendue of 0.01cm2sr. Complemented by front optics with an acceptance angle of ±0.65° and detector optics, the entire optical system fits into a volume of about 1.5L. This allows us to fly this instrument on a 3- or 6-unit CubeSat. The vertical field of view of the instrument is about 60km at the Earth's limb when operated in a typical low Earth orbit. Integration times to obtain an entire altitude profile of nighttime temperatures are on the order of 1min for a vertical resolution of 1.5km and a random noise level of about 1.5K. Daytime integration times are 1 order of magnitude shorter. This work presents the design parameters of the optics and a radiometric assessment of the instrument. Furthermore, it gives an overview of the required characterization and calibration steps. This includes the characterization of image distortions in the different parts of the optics, visibility, and phase determination as well as flat fielding.

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Short summary
The concept and optical layout of a limb sounder using a spatial heterodyne spectrometer is presented. The instrument fits onto a nano-satellite platform, such as a CubeSat. It is designed for the derivation of temperatures in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The design parameters of the optics and a radiometric assessment of the instrument as well as the main characterization and calibration steps are discussed.
The concept and optical layout of a limb sounder using a spatial heterodyne spectrometer is...