A report describes the development of the spaceborne infrared atmospheric sounder (SIRAS)—a spectral imaging instrument, suitable for observing the atmosphere of the Earth from a spacecraft, that utilizes four spectrometers to cover the wavelength range of 12 to 15.4 µm with a spectral resolution that ranges between 1 part per 900 and 1 part per 1,200 in wavelength. The spectrometers are operated in low orders to minimize filtering requirements. Focal planes receive the dispersed energy and provide a spectrum of the scene. The design of the SIRAS combines advanced, wide-field refractive optics with high-dispersion gratings in a solid-state (no moving parts), diffraction-limited optical system that is the smallest such system that can be constructed for the specified wavelength range and resolution. The primary structure of the SIRAS has dimensions of 10 by 10 by 14 cm and has a mass of only 2.03 kg.

This work was done by Thomas Pagano, Steven Macenka, and Thomas Kampe of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category. NPO-30202