Proteus visits for CLAMS
MADISON, WI, June 28, 2001Almost yearly
since 1997, an aircraft engaged in atmospheric research has visited Madisons
Truax Field, brought here by UWMadisons Space Science and
Engineering Center (SSEC) and hosted by the 115 Fighter Wing, Wisconsin
Air National Guard. This year a new plane graces Madisons air lanes,
the Proteus, a high-altitude long-duration instrument platform.
With its two sets of wings, the Proteus looks like a long skinny biplane. Its modular construction allows it to fly high or low in the atmosphere and carry different sizes of payloads in a pod under the aircraft. It can be flown with or without a pilot at the controls. It will be piloted when it comes to Madison.
To prepare for a field experiment called CLAMS, for Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites, on July 9 the Proteus will swoop in to retrieve a NASA instrument that was trucked to Madison for comparison tests with SSEC instruments. CLAMS takes place in July off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Primarily, the experiment seeks to refine the way current and future satellites measure aerosols and heat that Earth and sea reflect. It includes instrument teams from NASA, University of Washington and UW-Madisons SSEC.
NASAs NAST-I, for National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Airborne Sounder Testbed-Interferometer, is a flying testbed for future weather satellite instruments and is based at NASAs Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. William L. Smith, now Langleys Director of Atmospheric Sciences, is NAST principal investigator. Smith originally directed design of SSECs interferometer-based suite of atmospheric research instruments. The design for the NAST-I follows from that of SSECs High-resolution Interferometer Sounder, used since the 1980s for research into Earths changing climate, focusing on temperature and water vapor structure of the atmosphere.
Proteus was built by Californias Scaled Composites, Inc., and is based at their Mojave, California facility near NASAs Dryden Flight Research Center, which is home to the ER-2, the NASA high-altitude plane most familiar to Wisconsin residents.
According to the National Guards Major David Olson, no public viewing opportunities are planned on base, but the Proteus is expected to arrive at noon on July 9 and leave in the early morning of July 10. Research aircraft generally use the North-South runway, which can be viewed from the Madison airport, or any nearby vantage point.
For more information, contact SSEC's Public Information Officer, 608-263-3373.
Direct comments, suggestions and inquiries to SSEC's Public Information Officer. For information
about past media appearances, visit SSEC
In the News.