The Remote Sensing Section is a research section within the Remote Sensing Physics Branch. The section is currently engaged in the following research projects:
WindSat - Remote Sensing of Ocean Surface Winds
The wind vector affects a broad range of naval missions, including strategic ship movement and positioning, aircraft carrier operations, aircraft deployment, effective weapons use, underway replenishment, and littoral operations. Furthermore, accurate wind vector data aid in short-term weather forecasting, the issuing of timely weather warnings, and the gathering of general climatological data. WindSat is a satellite-based multifrequency polarimetric microwave radiometer developed by the Naval Research Laboratory for the U.S. Navy and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office (IPO). It is designed to demonstrate the capability of polarimetric microwave radiometry to measure the ocean surface wind vector from space. The sensor provides risk reduction for the development of the Conical Microwave Imager Sounder (CMIS), which is planned to provide wind vector data operationally starting in 2010. WindSat is the primary payload on the Air Force Coriolis satellite, which was launched on 6 January 2003. It is in an 840-km circular Sun-synchronous orbit. It is currently undergoing rigorous calibration and validation to verify mission success.
Airborne Polarimetric Microwave Imaging Radiometer
The Airborne Polarimetric Microwave Imaging Radiometer (APMIR) is a passive microwave sensor being developed by the Remote Sensing Division. The instrument measures naturally occurring microwave radiation from the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere at several different frequency bands and at multiple polarizations. It will be a primary calibration tool for the Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder (SSMIS) and WindSat, which is currently under development at NRL. These satellite sensors will provide key data to Navy and Air Force weather forecasters. Since the geophysical parameters of interest have very small electromagnetic signatures, highly accurate sensors, such as APMIR, are needed for calibration of the satellite instruments. APMIR is carried aboard an NRL P3 Orion aircraft, and scans in azimuth and elevation. The movement of the sensor is measured and controlled to a high degree of accuracy. The first flight of the system occurred on December 19, 2001.