Exelis and NASA complete flight campaign tests of carbon dioxide measuring
Active LIDAR from space would contribute to long-term study of global CO₂
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- April 09, 2013
ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) and the NASA Langley Research Center completed a flight
campaign in March that measured carbon dioxide over various surfaces and
conditions as a step toward taking active global measurements from space.
Using a NASA DC-8 aircraft and an instrument built by Exelis called the
Multifunctional Fiber Laser LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), the team took
carbon dioxide measurements from various, challenging environments. The
information was gathered from high altitudes over fresh and aged snow
surfaces, ocean surfaces in high winds, tall coastal and forest conditions,
and in the presence of thin cirrus clouds.
“The science community has stated clearly, the ability to improve climate
models depends directly on our ability to obtain more accurate CO₂
measurements,” said Eric Webster, vice president of Exelis weather systems.
“Using our active LIDAR system from space would enable significant
improvements in global mapping of carbon sources and sinks and thus improve
climate models. Results over several years and dozens of flights, including
this campaign, prove our solution works and would provide decision-makers with
more accurate information.”
In 2007, the National Research Council released its decadal survey
recommending the use of an active LIDAR system to provide new information on
carbon dioxide processes over all regions of the Earth, during night and day.
NASA Langley Research Center is evaluating the Exelis instrument to determine
its effectiveness for the mission. The Exelis instrument is based on
commercially viable fiber communications technology, which makes it lower cost
and risk than other approaches.
Using active LIDAR is important for researchers because current passive
instruments for measuring CO₂ from space cannot take measurements at night, at
high latitudes where major cities are located, or through clouds, which limits
effectiveness. Active instruments also take more accurate measurements in the
lower atmosphere where increases and decreases in carbon dioxide take place
Exelis has won three related technology development grants from the NASA Earth
Science Technology Office, and is on its ninth task under an
indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with the NASA Langley
Research Center for evaluation of LIDAR technology. The most recent flight
campaign also included instruments from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
and from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to quantify various approaches. The
NASA Langley Research Center and Exelis are working on the next step in the
evaluation process, which is to move the measurement concept to a
high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle.
About ITT Exelis
Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense, information and
technical services company that leverages a 50-year legacy of deep customer
knowledge and technical expertise to deliver affordable, mission-critical
solutions for global customers. We are a leader in communications, sensing and
surveillance, critical networks, electronic warfare, navigation, air traffic
solutions and information systems with growing positions in C4ISR, composite
aerostructures, logistics and technical services. Headquartered in McLean,
Va., the company employs about 19,900 people and generated 2012 sales of $5.5
billion. For more information, visit our website at www.exelisinc.com or
connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Kristin Jones, 571-419-4718
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