Air-LUSI: an autonomous robotic telescope for high-altitude lunar spectral irradiance measurements





Citation of Original Publication

Andrew Newton, Stephen E. Maxwell, S. Andrew Gadsden, Kevin R. Turpie, "Air-LUSI: an autonomous robotic telescope for high-altitude lunar spectral irradiance measurements," Proc. SPIE 12103, Advanced Optics for Imaging Applications: UV through LWIR VII, 121030E (27 May 2022);


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The airborne lunar spectral irradiance (air-LUSI) mission is an inter-agency partnership between the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. Air-LUSI aims to make SI-traceable measurements of lunar spectral irradiance at visible to near-infrared wavelengths with unprecedented accuracy. To minimize uncertainty, lunar spectra are acquired above 90 % of the Earth’s atmosphere aboard NASA’s Earth Resources aircraft, a civilian descendant of the U-2 spy plane. The data collected by the air-LUSI instrument is poised to improve upon current lunar calibrations of Earth observing satellites. The air-LUSI team recently completed their Operational Flight Campaign in Palmdale, California in March 2022. In addition to the Engineering Flight Campaign of August 2018 and the Demonstration Flight Campaign of November 2019, the air-LUSI instrument has been successfully deployed on over ten lunar spectral measurement flights at altitudes of roughly 21 km. This paper presents the simplified double gimbal design that was capable of recently tracking the Moon with a root mean square tracking error of less than 0.1°.