NPOESS Airborne Sounder Testbed - Interferometer


The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Aircraft Sounding Testbed -Interferometer (NAST-I) is a high spectral resolution Michelson interferometer created at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and based on the High resolution Interferometer Sounder developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The instrument measures the infrared spectrum between 4 and 15 microns, providing highly accurate spectra, which can be used to infer vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature, moisture and other trace constituents. The NAST-I instrument flies on NASA's high altitude research aircraft, the ER-2, and scans the earth from beneath the aircraft with a nominal spatial resolution of approximately 2.5 km and a swath width of about 45 km.

NAST-I plays a key role in the evaluation of instrument technologies and satellite data processing techniques for inclusion in future advanced NPOESS weather satellites. In performing this role, NAST-I is advancing infrared sounder technology with the goal of improved operational weather forecasts. SSEC scientists are supporting NAST-I efforts by participating in field experiments, providing instrument calibration, conducting research using data collected by NAST-I, and using experience with NAST-I to assist in the design of future instruments.

Contact information

Point of Contact: Robert O. Knuteson
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1225 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 263-7974
Fax: (608) 262-5974

Principal Investigator

Bob Knuteson
email contact form

Funding contributors and acknowledgements

Support for NAST-I development has been provided by


The NAST-I instrument was built by MIT-Lincoln Labs with calibration reference sources provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center. The interferometer module was provided by Bomem, Inc. of Quebec, Canada. The NAST-I instrument is operated by NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) with support from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
October 27, 2009