Miniaturized microwave radiometers deployed on nanosatellites in Low Earth Orbit

June 4, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm America/New York Timezone
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
3 Forbes Road
MA 02421

Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and co-sponsoring Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS)

Speaker: Dr. Angela Crews

Miniaturized microwave radiometers deployed on nanosatellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) are now demonstrating the ability to provide science-quality weather measurements. For instance, the Micro-sized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite-2A (MicroMAS-2A) is a 3U CubeSat launched in January 2018 that provided the first CubeSat microwave atmospheric sounder data from orbit. The goal of having cost-effective miniature instruments distributed in LEO is to field constellations and improve temporal and geospatial coverage. The Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitations structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) is a constellation of six 3U CubeSats, based on MicroMAS-2A, scheduled to no earlier than 2020. Each CubeSat hosts a scanning 12-channel passive microwave radiometer in W-band, F-band, and G-banda. TROPICS will provide a temporal resolution of less than 60 minutes and will provide high value investigations of inner-core conditions for tropical cyclones. Calibration for CubeSats presents new challenges as standard blackbody targets are difficult to effectively shroud on a CubeSat platform. Instead, internal noise diodes are used for calibration on CubeSats. In order to provide state of the art calibration for CubeSats, methods must be developed to track and correct noise diode drift. We quantitatively determine the radiometric accuracy of MicroMAS-2A and compare it to state of the art instruments to provide an assessment of CubeSat performance.

Biography: Dr. Angela Crews received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD in 2004. She received dual M.S. degrees in aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Dayton, OH in 2012. From 2004 to 2015, she served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as an EA-6B Electronic Countermeasures Officer (ECMO) and as a Space Operations Officer. Crews began her Ph.D. at MIT in 2015 as a member of the STAR Lab in the AeroAstro Department, and she will be graduating this June. At MIT, Crews has participated in STAR Lab laser communication CubeSat projects KitCube, FLARE, and CLICK. Her research is focused on calibration and validation for the CubeSat microwave radiometer missions MicroMAS-2 and TROPICS.

Meeting Location: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 3 Forbes Rd, Lexington, MA 02421, USA