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NASA Spacecraft with Raytheon Sensors Prepares for Launch

Image: Marek Młynarczyk

A NASA spacecraft carrying a Raytheon Company sensor designed to measure the global distribution of aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere is prepping for launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor will help scientists better comprehend how aerosols impact global climate patterns. In orbit aboard NASA’s Glory spacecraft, the APS will take measurements from multiple viewing angles in multiple spectral bands.

“The Glory Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor can distinguish between various types of aerosols and reveal the different role each plays in either warming or cooling our planet,” said Bill Hart, vice president, Space Systems. “With this information, policy leaders can make better-informed decisions with regard to addressing seasonal and regional climate change events.”

The sensor is designed to assure accuracy under a full range of operating conditions.

“Since black carbon aerosols generally contribute to warming, and sulfate aerosols to cooling, the concentrations of these aerosols and others must be determined to ensure accurate climate modeling,” Hart said. “Because these particles are transported over long distances by winds, their effects on climate are best studied through space-based observations.”

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