Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UAH Scientists Ship Instrument That Will Expand View of Global Lightning

12.02.2015

An expanded view of lightning around the globe is coming closer for scientists at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), thanks to a repurposed measuring instrument.

UAH researchers have passed NASA qualifying inspections and shipped out a Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) in preparation for its planned March 2016 flight to the International Space Station (ISS). The instrument, dubbed ISS LIS, was originally built as a flight spare for a LIS mission that launched in November 1997 aboard NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). That instrument is still in operation today.


Michael Mercier / UAH

The complete ISS LIS awaits packing for a trip to Johnson Space Center in Texas.

Like the LIS that flew before it, the current ISS LIS is a space-based instrument used to detect the distribution and variability of total cloud-to-cloud, intracloud and cloud-to-ground lightning that occurs in the tropical regions of the globe.

Funded by NASA, ISS LIS is being shipped to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, where it will be integrated onto the Space Test Program H5 spacecraft as one of 10 instruments. The integrated H5 spacecraft will then undergo environmental testing at JSC through August of 2015.

... more about:
»ISS »NASA »Space »Space Center »TRMM »UAH »activity »lightning »spacecraft

The H5 will then be shipped to NASA Kennedy Space Center for integration onto the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Pallet Adapter (ExPA). The ExPA will in turn be attached to a SpaceX Dragon Capsule for the 2016 launch.

“The ISS LIS will be integrated onto the Space Test Program H5 spacecraft at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will undergo testing through August 2015,” says Mike Stewart, a UAH Earth Systems Science Center (ESSC) principal research engineer. “The ISS LIS will be one of 10 instruments on the H5.”

Once on-orbit, the ExPA will be robotically mounted to the EXPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC), which provides the payload interface to the ISS. The ELC will be attached to the ISS truss structure.

In less than 16 months, UAH’s ESSC and Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC) designed, manufactured and space-qualified a new Interface Unit to adapt the legacy TRMM/LIS Electronics Unit and Sensor Unit to the STP H5 spacecraft. The legacy TRMM/LIS Units also required adaptations for the STP H5.

“This development is an excellent follow-on to the original LIS, extending our ability to observe global lightning activity over a longer period of time,” says Dr. Hugh Christian, a principal researcher at ESSC and the principal investigator for the ISS LIS instrument. “Further, ISS LIS will be in a higher orbital plane, thus extending our observations to higher latitudes.”

ISS LIS is designed to detect lightning during the daytime and nighttime. It takes 560 images per second and transforms those images into lightning events using specialized electronic processors. ISS LIS will be launched at about the same time as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), much of which was also designed and developed at UAH. It will provide important validation data for GLM.

In addition, there will be important complimentary instruments on the space station that will enable researchers to significantly extend knowledge of Terrestrial Gamma ray Flashes (TGF).

“We hope to continue our studies of lightning and severe weather, investigate the relationship between global lightning activity and climate change, provide validation for the GLM, and improve our understanding of TGFs,” says Dr. Christian.

UAH’s ESSC was the ISS LIS technical and scientific lead. The university’s RSESC was the program manager and lead systems engineer.

“RSESC supported ESSC by providing the engineering and program management to complete the project,” says Sue O’Brien, principal research engineer at RSESC.

“UAH worked with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and provided the information and analysis to complete the certification and associated processes,” O’Brien says.

“We prepared this payload for flight and are ready for delivery to NASA’s Space Test Program in just over a year, which was quite an accomplishment for the team,” O’Brien says. “We are looking forward to the knowledge gained from ISS LIS and what UAH can accomplish in space in the years to come.”

ISS LIS carries forward a long UAH pedigree in space-based lightning research, Dr. Christian says.

“I started working on the concept of space-based lightning observations in 1980,” he says. “Our first instrument, the Optical Transient Detector (OTD) was launch in April 1995.”

Contact Information
Jim Steele
Research Writer/Editor
jim.steele@uah.edu
Phone: 256-824-2772

Jim Steele | newswise
Further information:
http://www.uah.edu

Further reports about: ISS NASA Space Space Center TRMM UAH activity lightning spacecraft

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy
21.04.2017 | Stockholm University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>