LANHAM, Md., 27 Aug. 2008.Sigma Space has delivered the opto-mechanical system, electronics, and fuselage structure for NASA's first science instrument to be flown in the Global Hawk platform. The instrument, built under the direction of Dr. Matthew McGill from Goddard Space Flight Center, is a lidar designed to provide information on cloud and aerosol properties.
It will be applied to atmospheric research, climate change studies, and hurricane surveillance and study. Sigma collaborated with Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Division for aircraft integration.
"This instrument enables NASA and the nation to have a unique capability for atmospheric research, particularly as related to cloud-climate feedback and aerosol-cloud interactions. The Global Hawk platform is capable of sustained high-altitude operation, with potential to circumnavigate the globe on a single flight. Because it is unmanned, the Global Hawk can fly longer and can operate in regions currently inaccessible to our airborne platforms, such as southern oceans or Antarctica," says McGill.
"The long-duration flights possible with the Global Hawk platform present unique challenges for science instrumentation. Sigma had the opportunity to apply all its expertise in aerospace instrument engineering in this project," says Dr. J. Marcos Sirota, president and CEO of Sigma.