About Me

Mr. Fred A. Best is Technical Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center where he has had a long history developing and deploying scientific instruments for ground, aircraft, and spaceflight applications. Mr. Best received a BS in Engineering Physics (Mechanics) at the University of Wisconsin in 1978, prior to joining SSEC. He served as Lead Mechanical Engineer for the development of the Hubble Space Telescope High Speed Photometer and the Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (Space Shuttle Mission STS-54) spaceflight instruments, as well as the pioneering High-resolution Interferometer Sounder aircraft instrument.  He served as program manager and lead mechanical systems engineer for the refurbishment and calibration of the Net Flux Radiometer (NFR) instrument that was part of the Galileo Atmospheric Entry Probe to Jupiter.  He then served as program manager and lead mechanical systems engineer for UW-SSEC’s High Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy instrument development programs, and related field campaigns. Instruments include the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) ground-based instrument and the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (HIS) high altitude aircraft instrument.  For each of these programs, Mr. Best was instrumental in developing the radiometric calibration subsystems and related calibration procedures and techniques that provided state-of-the-art absolute accuracy.

Following these instrument developments, Mr. Best served as program manager and technical lead for the Flight Calibration Subsystem for the NASA’s Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) instrument.  This highly successful state-of-the-art spaceflight design significantly exceeded performance goals as demonstrated during extensive testing on the engineering development model, and served as a basis for next-generation on-orbit absolute calibration techniques.  Mr. Best was the inventor and lead researcher on SSEC’s internally funded Absolute Temperature Calibration program that pioneered a novel scheme that uses transient melt signatures of small quantities of multiple phase change materials to provide on-orbit absolute temperature calibration of blackbody radiance standards.  This work, which was targeted for the CLARRO mission, is now continuing under a NASA Instrument Incubator Program grant, on which he serves as a Co-Investigator.  Mr. Best has received eight NASA Achievement Awards, and has been recently appointed as a Distinguished Researcher at the University of Wisconsin.