Mission Status & Events

Commissioning Update From Aquarius PI Gary Lagerloef: Taking Careful Steps
[22-Aug-11] Today, the calibration working group discussed various findings after a day or so of radiometer data. We are beginning to converge on consistent estimates of the radiometer brightness temperature biases for each of the polarization channels for each of the three radiometers. The team also looked carefully and found no radiometer changes associated with the turn-on of the scatterometer receiver. Accordingly, we powered on the scatterometer solid state power amplifier (SSPA) earlier this evening (without the transmitter on). We are doing these sequential scatterometer commissioning steps while the satellite is viewing the ocean and away from land to minimize and external variations. This increases our confidence that each stage has no measurable effect of the radiometer signal. Even though this was all verified on the ground during the extensive pre-launch testing, we are taking these careful steps to verify that it is all working as planned in orbit. Assuming that all looks well Tuesday, we will initiate the radar transmitter on one of the three beams late in the day.