Ball Aerospace Advanced Radiometer for NIST to Fly on DSCOVR Mission

A Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. instrument aboard a mission designed to measure the irradiance from Earth's sunlit face is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on February 8, 2015.  A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) for NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. The mission is designed to provide solar wind monitoring and forecasting and to aid scientists in measuring the energy exchange between the earth and sun.

Ball Aerospace developed the advanced radiometer instrument - called Scripps NISTAR - working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The radiometer is designed to measure the Earth's total reflected and emitted energy in the 0.2 to 100 micron range, and is based on the NIST electrical-substitution and Ball modular instrument controller technologies.

"After years of hard work we are looking forward to the Ball radiometer developed with NIST and Scripps along with the star tracker finally having their day in the sun," said Jim Oschmann, Ball's vice president and general manager for Civil Space and Technology. "Ball has a long history of building instruments critical to keeping track of our planet's health."

Ball also provided DSCOVR with the CT633 star tracker. In preparation for the mission, the tracker was recalibrated, and outfitted with an improved lightshade and software. Final verification included solar testing in the Ball Stray Light Facility. Ball Aerospace provides navigation hardware for NASA, USGS and military customers including more than 400 star sensors for multiple space missions since 1964.

The spacecraft's ultimate destination will be the first sun-Earth Lagrange point (L1), located 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) sunward from Earth, a neutral gravity point between Earth and the sun.

Source: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Date: Feb 3, 2015