Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) Uplooking Experiment
23 October 2006
Wayne Feltz and Joe Taylor


A revolutionary new satellite instrument called GIFTS, which will provide 3-D imaging of the earth’s atmosphere temperature, water vapor, and wind structure, was successfully tested in September 2006 at the Logan, Utah Space Dynamics Laboratory.  The GIFTS instrument provides high temporal and spatial resolution radiances which contain information about the current thunderstorm potential, wind structure, and cloud properties all important for improving forecasting of high impact weather situations.  The University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering Center (UW-SSEC), NASA Langley Research Center, and Space Dynamics Laboratory conducted a ground at Logan, Utah field program from 05 – 27 September 2006. 

UW-SSEC deployed a suite of meteorological instruments within a Winnebago, to validate GIFTS measurements.  The GIFTS instrument was in a thermal vacuum chamber to replicate space flight conditions and pointed a mirror which allowed an upward-look into the earth’s lower atmosphere.  Simultaneously, other absolutely calibrated measurements from an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) allowed a calibration and validation check on the integrity of the GIFTS radiance measurements.  Radiosonde, surface meteorological station, and ceilometer measurements were also taken to characterize the atmosphere at the time of the GIFTS measurements and for use with calculating GIFTS-like radiance measurements for validation. 

This experiment was designed to show that GIFTS is obtaining accurate radiance measurements before further work is conducted to make the instrument space flight ready.  The GIFTS instrument is expected to be ready for launch in 3-years with further resources, and should provide a huge leap scientific in providing risk reduction for the next generation of geostationary weather satellite technology.