Michigan Aerospace interferometry system headed to International Space Station

July 10, 2014
Michigan Aerospace Corporation delivered a precision interferometric optical system that will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) via a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle in mid-September 2014.

Engineering and products company Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC; Ann Arbor, MI) delivered a precision interferometric optical system that will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) via a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle in mid-September 2014. The optical system is part of the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) measurements, developed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

RELATED ARTICLE: New needs and technology push laser remote sensing in the atmosphere

Mounted externally on the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module, CATS is a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) remote sensing instrument designed to provide range-resolved profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds. The CATS instrument uses a high repetition rate laser operating at three wavelengths (1064, 532, and 355 nm) to derive properties of cloud and aerosol layers including: layer height, layer thickness, optical depth, extinction, and depolarization-based discrimination of particle type. The CATS investigation is designed to provide a combination of long-term operational science, in-space technology demonstration, and technology risk reduction for future Earth Science missions; all the while adding to the continuous history of Earth atmospheric observations.

The MAC optical system is based on a Fabry-Perot interferometer, one in a long line of atmospheric measurement instruments created for use in harsh environments.

Michigan Aerospace Corporation provides remote sensing, intelligent systems, and software solutions for space, air, and earth-bound applications. Its roots are in developing atmospheric measurement systems for aerospace customers, but it also applies these same technologies and expertise to solving problems closer to home, including clean energy, water management, and early stage disease detection. Michigan Aerospace is a spin-off from the University of Michigan and part of the Springmatter commercialization umbrella, providing assistance to innovators and companies that need a little help bringing their concepts to life.

SOURCE: Michigan Aerospace Corporation and NASA; http://www.michaero.com and http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1037.html

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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