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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101073

The Methane Isotopologues by Solar Occultation (MISO) Nanosatellite Mission: Spectral Channel Optimization and Early Performance Analysis

1
Space Science & Technology Department (RAL Space), Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0QX, UK
2
UNSW Canberra Space, University of New South Wales-Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Greenhouse Gases)
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Abstract

MISO is an in-orbit demonstration mission that focuses on improving the representation of the methane distribution throughout the upper troposphere and stratosphere, to complement and augment the nadir- and zenith-looking methane observing system for a better understanding of the methane budget. MISO also aims to raise to space mission readiness the concept of laser heterodyne spectro-radiometry (LHR) and associated miniaturization technologies, through demonstration of Doppler-limited atmospheric transmittance spectroscopy of methane from a nanosatellite platform suitable for future constellation deployment. The instrumental and engineering approach to MISO is briefly presented to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the mission. LHR operates using narrow spectral coverage (<1 cm−1) focusing on a few carefully chosen individual ro-vibrational transitions. A line-by-line spectral channel selection methodology is developed and used to optimize spectral channel selection relevant to methane isotopologue sounding from co-registered thermal infrared and short-wave infrared LHR. One of the selected windows is then used to carry out a first performance analysis of methane retrievals based on measurement noise propagation. This preliminary analysis of a single observation demonstrates an ideal instrumental precision of <1% for altitudes in the range 8–20 km, <5% for 20–30 km and <10% up to 37 km on a single isotopologue profile, which leaves a significant reserve for real-world error budget degradation and bodes well for the mission feasibility. MISO could realistically demonstrate methane limb sounding at Doppler-limited spectral resolution, even from a cost-effective 6 dm3 nanosatellite. View Full-Text
Keywords: stratospheric methane; UTLS; nanosatellite mission; laser heterodyne spectro-radiometry; limb sounding; solar occultation stratospheric methane; UTLS; nanosatellite mission; laser heterodyne spectro-radiometry; limb sounding; solar occultation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Weidmann, D.; Hoffmann, A.; Macleod, N.; Middleton, K.; Kurtz, J.; Barraclough, S.; Griffin, D. The Methane Isotopologues by Solar Occultation (MISO) Nanosatellite Mission: Spectral Channel Optimization and Early Performance Analysis. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1073.

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