Aerospace Provides Independent Review of Aquarius Microwave Radiometer

Corporate Staff
posted November 30, 2012


  1. Aquarius is a microwave radiometer/radar combination developed under NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program to map the surface salinity field of the oceans from space.
  2. The Aquarius/SAC-D mission is a partnership between the U.S. (NASA) and Argentina (CONAE).
  3. The main instrument onboard is an L-band radiometer developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and accompanied by an L-band scatterometer, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), to correct for the sea surface wind speed. This is a unique combination of highly sensitive instruments to provide ocean salinity of 0.2 psu on practical salinity units. Both NASA GSFC and JPL conducted the design and development phase of the instrument during the last decade.
  4. On Sep. 22, 2011, the project released the first image of the global salinity map.

Aerospace Actions:

  1. Aerospace was a member of the Aquarius Review Board.
  2. Aerospace actively participated in all Aquarius radiometer activities as an independent reviewer during the radiometer development at NASA GSFC from 2005 through 2009.
  3. Aerospace participated in the Aquarius Scatterometer Subsystem preliminary design review that was held on June 7, 2005. This was a comprehensive review that addressed the entire scope as requested by the Aquarius project.
  4. Aerospace participated in the Aquarius Radiometer Critical Design Review that was held on Aug. 22-23, 2005. This was a comprehensive review of entire engineering model (EM) components design including digital processing unit (DPU), radiometer front-end (RFE), radiometer back-end (RBE), correlated noise diode (CND), diplexer prototype, mechanical design, as well as EM test results, calibration plan, etc. in preparation to proceed to fabrication of flight hardware.
  5. Aerospace personnel also participated in the radiometer pre-environmental review in April 2007, the radiometer test readiness review in September 2007, the radiometer preship review in January 2008, and the radiometer gain glitches and anomalies test, data, and mitigation options review in 2008 and 2009.

Value Added:

The independent review of the Aquarius Microwave Radiometer, provided by Aerospace personnel through the project’s life cycle, was recognized by our NASA customer as being critical to its mission success.